THE PASSION OF LOREEN BRIGHT WEASEL by James Polk

THE PASSION OF LOREEN BRIGHT WEASEL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A strained but moderately bright and stylish little farce set in small-town Montana--with much of the humor (which some readers will find offensive) stemming from the epic stupidity and over-literal religiosity of an Indian girl named Loreen Bright Weasel. Motherless, clumsy Loreen, who's brought up in a Catholic mission after her Pa goes honkers, blunders into sin (the Bible said ""that a person should love the sick, and this man grunted like he had the croup"") and is then promptly given a kindly heave-ho: she's sent to the town of Hebb, where she'll be a live-in maid to Valium-popping Winn Triumph and her husband Sheep, an old-family Montana man who's itching to run for mayor. But Sheep's big campaign-kickoff barbecue ends in disaster when (thanks partly to Loreen) he finds Winn in flagrante delicto with his best friend. And Loreen also ruins Sheep's one big campaign issue--the brothel run by Sheep's longtime ex-wife Marlyss--when she persuades madam Marlyss to enter the Mission as a Lay Sister (the nuns need Marlyss' business expertise). And so it goes, with: a few other subplots; Loreen's saintly efforts (she hears God's voice) and scandalous pregnancy; Winn's rebirth (running a catering service with beautiful Mary, also from the Mission); and a rematch between Sheep and Marlyss. Many of Polk's comic sallies here are limp or heavyhanded; and the dumb-Indian routines sometimes take on a hint of a racist tinge. But the satire on small-town life scores now and then, Polk's overall tone is shrewdly dead-pan--and, though far from laugh-out-loud funny, this is a fairly amusing debut in a sharp and whimsical vein.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin