AUNT PLEASANTINE by Ruth Doan MacDougall


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Reading Aunt Pleasantine is like overhearing the telephone conversation of strangers: smooth enough to catch your ear but not diverting enough to hold you if the kettle starts to boil. Aunt Pleasantine is a limited-income octogenarian, cast aside by children and grandchildren, visiting her old friend's granddaughter Mary, a dabbling artist. No Auntie Mame, she's a Hollywood Squares devotee and wholly unobjectionable houseguest--rationing stories from the past (one per meal), amusing herself out of sight, paying for her own soap flakes, and staying out of the bland affairs of Mary and husband Bill, a happily childless couple. But does she have any place to go after her visit? Life goes on rather sedately, although Bill's parents get nasty when they hear of his vasectomy, and Aunt P. has her share of colorful anecdotes--about a womanizing ex-husband and his sequel, the charming scoundrel who lost her fortune, An old friend is summarily carted to a nursing home--the unspoken fear here--but Bill and Mary offer more agreeable help (and keep their camp intact) by finding a state program, Shared Homes, that places senior citizens in private homes. Serviceable but tame, with no special brighteners unless you're partial to Square flakes like Paul Lynde and George Gobel.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row