Nellcott Is My Darling

Nellcott is My DarlingI finally got around to reading Nellcott Is My Darling by Golda Fried. In many ways it reminded me of my first year of university. As I expected it would. It was the character’s first year at my university and she was living in one of the dorms and going to my library, etc.

Wanna know what made me remember Montreal? Of course you do!

The dough ball in the middle of the pizza.
The ice-cream ticket in the rez caf that reminded her of an “Admit One” ticket.
The Word bookstore and its $1 shelf.
Any and all references to the Cross.

And this entire passage:
“She liked the old buildings of the campus, the tall black iron gates that guarded some of the entrances, the park in the centre where the architecture students would try to level some traffic-light-yellow tripod-like machines. The Arts Building steps where people hung out to see and to be seen. The main floor of the Redpath Library, which had a section called ‘the fishbowl’ because it was enclosed in glass and had comfy chairs where you could read.”

All of those things scream McGill to me. I used to walk through those gates almost every day. I’d watch the architecture students with their tripods and wonder exactly what the heck it was that they were doing. The Arts steps, oh I spent many an hour on those things. One of the most excellent spots for people watching. The fishbowl in the library is where more talking gets done than studying.

I’m very disappointed that “the stairs to nowhere” were not mentioned.

I enjoyed this book for the trip back in time that it gave me- a mental tour of a previous life. I understood what it was like to wait for the stupid washing machine. I understood the cheap beer at Bifteck. I understood moving out of your dorm and in with your dormmates, people you thought you liked in the dorm only to stop speaking to them completely. I understood the neighbourhoods she walked in. The cold.

But aside from that, I don’t know that I liked it all that much. Alice is very different from me. I don’t think I liked *her* very much.

Hmm I’m looking at the back of the book right now. One of the reviews says “Nellcott Is My Darling” has the heartbreaking lightness of a Yo La Tengo Song.” I hate Yo La Tengo. Maybe that explains why I wasn’t so crazy about this one.

I love the paper it was printed on. It’s thick and textured and feels heavy beneath your fingers.

I’d be really interested to hear what a non-McGill, non-Montreal person thinks of this one.

Oh! And I know how come this one was on my list. Cat read it and it was nominated for the GG award