Monday, June 4, 2012

A Mouse Is Born

1951, first edition
Anita Loos
Illustrated by Pallavicini
A Mouse Is Born
Original price unknown, purchase price $1.50
Good condition hardcover

Loos tells the story of another dumb blonde, but this one is an expectant mother, Effie Huntriss, who writes her autobiography addressed to her unborn "mouse," a term she chooses because it's "by-sexual," i.e. gender-neutral.  There is some actual bisexuality in the book though, since Effie finds herself attracted to Inga Swenson, whom she thinks her current (fourth) husband is having an affair with.  There's also a gay bookstore manager, Vernon, who gets Effie reading material and helps her manage her household, but he's rudely cast aside after Effie's son is born.  Effie is more sentimental and romantic than Lorelei Lee, and in fact when Vernon brings her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Effie thinks it's about finance.

Effie tells of her many marriages and of her film career as a sex symbol, with The Nude Deal as her debut.  The writing isn't as sharp as in the "Lorelei" books, but it's definitely better than in the Wodehouse books about Hollywood.  The Pallavicini drawings are mostly of the racier moments in Effie's movies, although he does illustrate the bundle of joy as a mouse.

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