Official Molly Gaudry Web Site

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A Review of Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart
By Jason Jordan, Nov 24, 2009

Inspired by fairytales & Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, Molly Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart (ml press, 2009) is the first novel(la) from J. A. Tyler’s mud luscious offshoot. Described by Gaudry herself as a “novella in verse,” the book does indeed read like a lengthy, narrative poem in spite of the author’s hesitation with the latter label. While there’s little punctuation, followers of mud luscious will immediately notice the publication’s calling card—ampersands replacing the word “and”—as well as the all-caps dialogue. For example, “I once asked BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GIRL IN THE GLASS DRESS & Mother’s answer was JUST COUNT YOUR LUCKY STARS YOU’RE SAFE IN BED & NOT A COOK FOR A RICH MAN” (5).

Story-wise, WTMA contains three characters: the protagonist daughter, her mother, & the daughter’s significant other. Though much of the book is in first person, it shifts to second when referring to the daughter’s love interest. Successful, too, is Gaudry’s adept use of voice, which changes as the main character grows older. I also enjoy the language she employs, drawing attention to diction & repetition a la Karen Lillis’s The Second Elizabeth (Six Gallery Press, 2009) & Peter Markus’s Bob, or Man on Boat (Dzanc Books, 2008).

Because the text alludes to other works of literature, those unfamiliar with such references won’t have quite as full a read as those who do—a gamble on the author’s part for sure, but one that doesn’t significantly alter the plot. Lamentably, the narrative meanders in the middle, lowering the dramatic tension that the beginning sets up so well. The end, however, is a saving grace. Not only is it unpredictable, it’s a refreshing jolt that avoids the formulaic by refusing to stoop to a happy (fairytale?) resolution for the main characters.

Overall, We Take Me Apart is a fine debut from Gaudry & an impressive first installment from ml press.

decomP Editor-in-Chief Jason Jordan has a large red beard. Visit him (and his beard) at his blog.