Elaine Dundy and the “Lost Year”

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We’ve (almost) all been there: Our “lost year” (or two, or three). Sometimes it’s after high school or college; sometimes it’s after a breakup, a divorce, or a loss; sometimes it’s triggered by something else entirely. It’s the time when we are figuring out how to blend the old version of our identity with the new version of our identity and we’re not quite sure who we are in the meantime. Lucky for us, in her semi-autobiographical novel The Dud Avocado, author Elaine Dundy chronicled the events comprising her own wayward (albeit entertaining) “lost year”:

“All the impulsive, outrageous things my heroine does, I did,” said Dundy. “All the sensible things she did, I made up.”

By reading The Dud Avocado, we can learn to laugh at the bad decisions and mishaps of the novel’s main character, Sally Jay Gorce, and perhaps eventually, at our own.

The Dud Avocado
by Elaine Dundy
DB 65407
Twenty-one-year-old American Sally Jay Gorce, a college graduate seeking adventure, moves to Paris in the 1950s. She joins an old acquaintance’s acting troupe at the English-speaking theater; socializes with the rich, international set; poses for a painter and a photographer—and lands in trouble. Some strong language. 1958.