I received a free copy of Chocolates for Breakfast from TLC Book Tours for my honest review.
About the Book:
• Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (June 25, 2013)
About the Author:
Pamela Moore was an American writer educated at Rosemary Hall and Barnard College. Her first book,Chocolates for Breakfast, was published when she was eighteen and became an international bestseller. Moore went on to write four more novels, but none of these enjoyed the success of her first. She died in 1964 at the age of twenty-six, while at work on her final, unpublished novel, Kathy on the Rocks.
This is one of those forays I tend to take into genres I don’t typically read. I can’t remember what caused me to chose this book and having read it I must write that it was a book that still pops into my thoughts even a week later. Courtney Farrell is a 15 (?) year old nascent alcoholic who smokes like my grandmother did. I found myself several times during the narrative having to remind myself that the book was written in 1956.
Courtney’s parents are divorced – her father a NY publisher, her mother a faded Hollywood movie actress who thinks more of herself and her needs than her daughter’s. Courtney has assumed a maturity far beyond her years from being dropped off at boarding school and in all honesty, mostly forgotten. When a minor scandal involving an older female teacher erupts Courtney ends up not returning to school and moving to California with her mother whose life will soon spiral further down.
Courtney though is 15, almost 16 as she says and is just starting to learn the power of her beauty. When she turns 16 her mother allows her to drink (it was written in 1956, it was written in 1956) and she learns to love scotch (it was written in 1956) with her cigarettes. She also falls in love with a handsome, gay, older actor despite being warned away. She is a teenager looking for love in any form.
This book was shocking in 1956 with its themes of homosexuality, divorce and suicide but ironically not for the teenage drinking and smoking. Those aspects shock more now. The representation of the children of the rich is/was a common storyline that continues to be provocative.
The writing at times is juvenile – the author was 18 when she wrote the book and it’s odd reading it from my age (53) as she discusses older people and her “mature” self. Knowing what is was like to be a teenager and how much one thought one knew and how much of it was smoke and mirrors.
I found myself enthralled, disgusted, fascinated, shocked and saddened while reading this book. That a novel can call forth so many emotions is a good thing; it certainly made me think and is keeping me thinking. I can’t say it was a happy book and knowing the author’s back story makes it all the more poignant a tale (she committed suicide at 26). It wasn’t easy to read, but I can say I was glad I’ve added to my bookshelf.
You can see the Chocolates for Breakfast Tour Schedule
You can purchase Chocolates for Breakfast on Amazon.com
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Chocolates for Breakfast from TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.