Picks and Pans Review: Eating the Cheshire Cat

UPDATED 03/20/2000 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/20/2000 at 01:00 AM EST

by Helen Ellis

Probably not since Flannery O'Connor has a southern writer assembled such a gaggle of grotesques. In this coming-of-age novel by an Alabama-reared first-time author, the protagonists are: self-mutilating lesbian stalker Nicole; mealymouthed Bitty Jack, who confects pornographic patisserie; and most odious of all, sociopathic sorority sister Sarina, who is just as hateful as a wounded rattlesnake. If these three weren't sufficiently repellent, Ellis makes every other mother a gorgon and every other boyfriend a freak. (One dresses up as an elephant, another is a carnival sideshow spectacle named Johnny Iguana, whose "daddy was a crocodile, his mama...a disco queen!")

While O'Connor could elevate such over-the-top absurdity to the sublime, Ellis's efforts are substandard (as are, not infrequently, her grammar and spelling). Although she is obviously striving for great comedy, she has instead written a book filled with meanness, mockery and misogyny. (Scribner, $23)

Bottom Line: Freshman effort that's unfortunately all too sophomoric

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters