“On Tv they keep saying that St. Bernard Parish is gone. After a while we realize that they mean St. Bernard Parish. Home. It ain’t there no more. Ain’t that just like God. You are sitting around worrying about will you lose weight and should you color your hair and POW–God hits you upside the head…” Modine Gunch (Monaghan) Never Clean the House During Hurricane Season
That was an excerpt from Modine Gunch’s newest book, available in stores today, but wait until this Saturday, May 28th at 2:00pm to buy the book at Octavia Books where she will be signing and reading excerpts. This is not the first time New Orleans has seen Ms. Gunch, a.k.a. Liz Scott Monaghan. For the past 25 years, she’s shared her merging fictional life with readers of her monthly collumn in the New Orleans Magazine where she vents about her children, man-friend, and mother-in-law.
Never Clean Your House during Hurricane Season continues the story in her collumn and matches the plot and humor of her former novels, which have similarly imperative tones in their title, as if she were our own mothers scolding us.
Never Heave Your Bosom in a Front-Hook Bra and Never Sleep with a Fat Man in July, like their names, do give laugh out loud advice from the perspective of a native New Orleans woman.
As Modine, Monaghan’s feelings toward the world are acted out in hilarious episodes with her mother-in-law Ms. Larda, her daughters Gumdrop and Gladiola, and man-friend Mr. Lust. Ironically named. We see Modine’s feelings toward her moving world are restrained as she shows us she is trapped in limbo somewhere between her daughters’ and mother-in-laws’ generation.
Unfortunatly, Modine doesn’t understand technology that well, or the changing sexual landscape calling transvestites “transformers” and believing in home-made things compared to those you buy on-line.
While this limbo sounds troublesome and awkward for Modine, it creates situations for us to laugh at, when we can see Modine has completeliy missed the boat.
And with the new threat of Katrina in Never Clean Your House… Monaghn feels like we did when we left… that we’d be back in a few days, as if it was another fire drill, and those lingering thoughts of shoulda-woulda-coulda taken this and that with me.
I suggest you visit the New Orleans Magazine link and read a few Modine articles before you come to the reading Saturday. Though Never Clean Your House… is an enjoyable book all on its own, Modine’s characters are so funny and likeable that if you read the collumn before-hand you’ll already know Modine, Slime, Gargoyal, Ms. Larda, and Lust.
I mostly suggest the articles with Ms. Larda; the latest article is about Ms. Larda’s improper word use, a common theme in Modine:
“My mother-in-law texts me that she got Azalea’s disease.
Now, Ms. Larda never sent a text message in her whole life before. So that’s a surprise. And I guess the phone autocorrected the name of whatever disease she was trying to spell.
I call her up.
I say, ‘He died of …’ and she says, ‘I know. Azalea’s disease, poor heart.’ I shut up.”-“Hosting the Godess”, Monaghan
Poor Ms. Larda…something just doesn’t click.
Meet the real Modine this Saturday then, and ask her will Ms. Larda ever get it?