Truong, Monique Bitter in the Mouth
Random House/Knopf/Anchor/Three Rivers 2010 282p 25.00
978-1-4000-6908-8 hs/adult Bildungsroman E-BN
A wonderfully written, coming of age novel that beautifully exploits a friendship between two girls in the 1970s and 1980s to describe not only the times they live in, but how friendships and families create the individuals we become.
A second novel by this award winning author (Bard Fiction Price, 2003; PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers, 2004; and New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, 2004) this is a gem of a novel. Linda, the young protagonist recognizes at a very young age that she can taste words. This form of synesthesia and her methods of coping with the onslaught of “incomings” (never ending tastes assaulting her brain due to people talking) cigarettes, alcohol, and sex, as well as her relationships with her best friend Kelly and her Uncle Harper, and other individuals in her life, unfold in this narrative of her life. As one reads through the book the author reveals little tidbits about Linda and her family and friends that alter the course of Linda’s life. Secrets revealed later in her life, when family tragedy pulls her back home, finally serve to clarify for Linda who she is and why her life has followed the it’s path. Fisher, Lynn