A son's affectionate but sketchy little memoir of the bittersweet romance between his octogenarian father, Clyde, and...

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THE BALLAD OF GUSSIE AND CLYDE: A True Story of True Love

A son's affectionate but sketchy little memoir of the bittersweet romance between his octogenarian father, Clyde, and Gussie, a widow of similar years. Latham, a New York journalist (Rolling Stone, Esquire) and screenwriter (Urban Cowboy, etc.) became concerned when his newly widowed father back in the tiny west Texas town of Spur began to develop a long-distance telephone relationship with a former childhood friend living in California. After numerous broken promises to come back to Spur for a brief visit, Gussie eventually made the trip, and the telephone romance quickly flowered into an engagement. Latham, in plain, rather flat prose, shows the old couple revisting childhood scenes, getting reacquainted, and even necking in a parked car like a couple of teenagers. When Gussie returned to California, Clyde followed her the next day, and a week later the impetuous couple was married. Harboring major reservations about his father's whirlwind romance, Latham, accompanied by his wife, 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl, flew out to meet his new stepmother and discovered that Gussie's family tree was entwined with his father's in a surprising way. A few months later, Clyde became dangerously ill, had one leg amputated, and underwent abdominal surgery. In the book's final chapter, the honeymoon may be over, but love persists. The last image Latham gives us is a tender one: the two old newlyweds ""sitting side by side in their recliners, fast asleep, smiling, holding hands."" Of such images are television movies-of-the-week made. The message that love knows no age barriers would be perfect around Valentine's Day, and actors might bring some life to Latham's two-dimensional characters. Wait for the screen version.

Pub Date: June 1, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997