A sassy dame who sounds tough—but at heart isn’t—tells her life story.
Or some part of it. Originally issued by a local publisher in New Orleans, where the action takes place, Conner’s debut ruefully recalls her marriage, divorce, and a brown dog the couple shared. She offers an assertive gumbo of anecdotes, memories, and recipes, seasoned with sharp opinions and held together by the pet. The Mississippi-born author tries, at times even strains, to sound like a hard-bitten good ol’ girl who gives as good as she gets. She begins by explaining that the man she calls “ex-husband” gave her the dog after their divorce, supposedly to keep her safe in her new apartment. But ex-husband is never quite out of her life—she still helps out at the bar he runs, they still go out—and soon the animal spends most of its time with him. Ex-husband and dog go everywhere together: bars, parties, and restaurants where the waiters cut up steak for the pooch and serve it to him on the sidewalk. In a city famously tolerant of eccentricity, no one objects when the dog sits in the driver’s seat while ex-husband works the pedals and steers from the side. (Conner offers other anecdotes about Big Easy weirdness, including a party at the Mausoleum and a backpack filled with beer worn to the big game.) As she considers her ongoing life, with ex-husband still in the picture and occasionally in her bed, the author flashes back to their first meeting in college, hints at his infidelities, and describes how she set about divorcing him, after making sure that she would be awarded alimony. Though Conner plays hard for laughs, her story has an underlying sadness: the two can never keep apart for long, and when ex-husband becomes terminally ill, ex-wife is there with affection and support.
A love story that just keeps on going.