The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Perhaps this book actually deserves 5 stars…I can’t tell. Like many literary works it evokes strong feelings. Like walking across the street and finding yourself in front of an ornate but abandoned building with stained mattresses outside: you are intrigued and shocked and feel disgust.
That is how this book begins: with a young innocent girl in love with a cousin who abuses her. Of that union comes Pierrot: a dreaming, ridiculous young orphan who at heart is weak, and who (perhaps like the McLean song Vincent “this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”) becomes an addict.
And there is also a girl, Rose, who is also a dreamer, but who is brasher, made of sterner stuff, and who sees the beauty and innocence in the world. She makes plans, and drags Pierrot along for a while until they are separated. He goes off to a world of whores and addicts, and she is the kept woman of a mobster.
Until they find each other again and create an amazing clown revue that goes on tour in New York (they are from Montreal). But that’s not the whole story, really. Plot is stated so matter of factly. Innocence and lives are lost in a sentence, but then whole paragraphs are devoted to the fanciful ways in which Rose sees the world– and I tired of it.
The whole story made me tired. It is hard to be optimistic and read this story. It is hard to get up in the morning and face your own body because of the degrading uses to which we put it. Reading this book is much like watching Les Miserables or reading Dicken’s David Copperfield: because there is a little bit of happiness and a little bit of hope, but that is eroded by the great tide of human misery.
And so perhaps this book deserves 5 stars for evoking all that. But in the end, I couldn’t say I exactly enjoyed reading it. The matter of fact sentences, the extended fancies. More I survived it.
Not for the YA crowd nor the unwary.