This was a marvelous chance encounter, id est I found this book in a parking lot outside the thrift store from whence it had clearly been rejected; anThis was a marvelous chance encounter, id est I found this book in a parking lot outside the thrift store from whence it had clearly been rejected; and couldn't bring myself to walk past its sad damp form. So I picked it up and immediately started sneezing, and my hands itched. But I read it anyway, out of pity.
It is literally the most terrible book I have ever read, and that includes John Grisham, David Baldacci, and Lacan. I uploaded a picture and author information just so I could write this review.
It did have one perfect rôle in my life, however, and that was to give me something to do while the cat eats. Lately I have to sit next to the cat while she eats, and try to stifle when I start laughing about Delphine (because if I laugh too hard she gets interested in me and forgets to eat). It's really hard to get the cat to eat as she gets older, I don't know what that's about. She really wants me to sit right there and stare at her, and only then will she murmur her little appreciative purr and settle down and finish her food, which is just, you can imagine. Super-tiresome.
Having been read back-to-front (the best way to read such books), my mouldering copy of Delphine is now recycled, cf. parking lot; but I will cherish its memories for a lifetime:
Delphine! Getting her clients hooked on "Placidyl." Delphine! Telling her unhappily-married-to-a-gay-guy client that she should go to one of those find-yr-own-vulva/how-to-use-a-vibrator sessions, and then of course she freaks out at all the jiggling vulvae and runs out crying and needs more Placidyl. Delphine! Kissing same lady client on the mouth, but "sexlessly." Delphine! Being the most boring character in the entire book, or maybe in any book ever.
The most interesting character, instead, was the unhappily gay actor Chris, and the book's "shocking conclusion" as it alerts us on the back flap—our collapsed print culture's equivalent of a content warning typically appeared alongside cut-rate book-of-the-month-clubs and endorsements from newspapers that were barely in existence even at the time—the shocker is apparently him getting fisted by some random rough trade? And then jumping off a building, because Placidyl? I say all of this, of course, in the full confidence that you are never, ever, ever in a gabillion years EVER going to read Delphine.
It does occur to me that so much of otherwise well-educated Americans' hatred of psych meds comes from some dim confusing memory of the fifties and sixties, and folks' clot-headed ideas that contemporary psych meds are somehow just like nutty analysts handing out Miltown or Tuinal or Seconal, and they honest to god think that MAOIs or SNRIs or even for chrissake fucking Klonopin are highly addictive barbituates that will have you shaking and begging your pdoc for scripts inside of a week. Not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular coughStevieNickscough (you know, I'm just pretty sure it wasn't clonazepam she was addicted to). Really, I'm just saying: educate yourselves, mes amis. Understand just a TEENY TINY BIT about neurochemical receptors/pathways and you will be much less convinced that all AstraZeneca wants is for you to be a DOPE FIEND FOR SEROQUEL, because that is never going to happen. Unless you're bipolar and you're already way too interested in googling terrible shit at 3 am like "how high up do you have to be to fall and kill yourself" and blearily watching Youtubes for how to make a noose. In that case yes you will be terribly "addicted" to Seroquel. Which, uh, will have the unbelievably horrific side effect of making you not stay up until 3 in the morning googling noose knots.
Oh, Delphine. I'm going to miss you. Mostly because you had all this Flowers in the Attic-type terrible promise, the lure of great evil; but in the end you didn't actually do anything except chastely kiss a lady client, get everyone addicted to a made-up drug (it's probably Pirin), and then publish a bestselling vaguely New Agey/Ayn Randy sort of book and ditch all your suicidal clients (q.v. fisting), abandoning them to go on the talkshow circuit. What a letdown—I was hoping for something so much more scandalous, maybe even Satanic. The potentialities of your mysterious sybaritic syphilitic veil! But no. You're just another middlebrow untrained analyst with a "plain hairstyle" bent on looking fifty when she's only forty.
(This reminds me though that I've been questing for about 20 years now for a quotation from a decadent Victorian poet, circa Beardsley/Wilde, probably Baudelaire and/or in French which is why I can't find it, about a woman's beauty being that much more devastating if she is scarred by a light syphilitic pox; and that this is what the veil emulates, those slight flaws exaggerating flawless skin. Seriously, why can't I find this?! I also can't find the introduction to someone's collection of short stories (O'Connor? Welty?) in which the young male writer (Capote?) recalls being invited by the older female writer to go out and do something fun, and this turns out to be sitting in lawn chairs while watching the elderly residents of a retirement home having to carry their belongings by hand as they struggle to move from an old building to a new one. Finally, I also can't find the children's book I loved, about a sea captain and his big orange polydactyl tabby cat, which MIGHT have been named Marmalade or maybe was just described as looking like marmalade, but this was fascinating to me because I had no idea what marmalade actually was. Also I was interested because the only color in the book was orange, and this seemed suspiciously too usefully appropriate to be a coincidence, which may have been my first realization that people made books, and made choices about those books.)
This is officially the strangest review I have ever written. Delphine!
(Oddly enough there are a lot of books entitled Delphine; but this isn't any of those.)...more