A SECOND HAND LIFE by Charles Jackson


Email this review


At the conclusion Harry Harrison, asexual...aging...proposes to his lifelong friend our nymphomaniac heroine Winifred Grainger: ""Oh, I know I'm no bargain. At best I can only offer you a second hand life."" What follows is a beautiful, impassioned subconscious dialogue between the two about want...need...love and living...the right to be oneself. This is, evidently, what the book is all about. At least that's what the author wants us to think but he's only fooling himself. For the first 99 percent of this novel is lubricious trash. It's the story of a woman groomed at eleven to taste and adore as many men as possible. She's the town's sophisticated where with a reputation as long as her list of conquests. She's ""obsessed by men. Physical men. His body. All of them almost."" Her eyes fly with ""compulsive habit to his fly."" For the ""possibility of knowing 'what he might be like' where it counted most."" For page after page after page. It's also, roughly, the story of her one love affair with a man who deserted her for another woman. Winifred's tiresome obsessions do indeed hit below the belt and this will never take the place of The Lost Weekend. Strong publisher promotion.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1967
Publisher: Macmillan