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A hilariously candid story of a dysfunctional and disintegrating relationship, What Rhymes with Bastard? follows Linda Robertson as she moves from London to San Francisco, where she gets cheated on, gets dumped, loses her job, and forms a cabaret band.
Linda’s story begins in London. When her beloved Jack gets locked up in a mental hospital after trying to sail down the Thames in a makeshift raft, Linda doesn’t take the hint. Instead, she marries him and moves to San Francisco, where she plans to Get Ahead.
Alas, her blue-skied visions didn’t include unemployment, oddball roommates, arguments, or Jack's desperate attempt to sleep with as many women as he can get his hands on. As her romance sours, our heroine pours her bile into song, assembles a cabaret band, and takes to the dark, sticky stages of the city's nightclubs. There, amid a morass of strippers, magicians, artists and assorted weirdoes, she strives for the ultimate musical accolade: Ms Accordion San Francisco 2004.
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In this darkly comedic debut memoir, Scottish ex-pat Robertson details a bad year in San Francisco, living with a no-good boyfriend and her own uncertain identity. Wryly observing that "even a boyfriend in a lunatic asylum seemed better than none," twenty-something Linda sends young, psychologically delicate Jack, "a good fixer-upper," ahead to SF to secure a job, a place to live, and a "perfect backdrop to our decaying love." The painful details of their relationship follow, as Jack becomes the alcoholic, drug abusing, philandering bastard of the title, and Robertson copes through friends, music and gallows humor. Though there's little on the ex-pat experience (or the whys of her and her friends' knack for poor choices), Robertson shares some welcome insights ("when your lover doesn't love you anymore, friends remind you that they do") and gamely pokes fun at their grim, collective situation. The most serious material follows the death of Robertson's mother, after which Robertson makes a bid for adulthood by entering the Ms. Accordion San Francisco 2004 pageant. Though sure to delight open-minded fans of chick lit (Robertson isn't bashful), it's a narrative unlikely to catch on with any broader an audience.
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It would be a gross understatement to say that Scottish debut memoirist Robertson suffers from low self-esteem. Why else would she stay married to Jack, a lowlife of a lad who does drugs, cheats on her, and then dispenses every gory detail? In the realm of toxic relationships, theirs is Chernobyl. But Jack’s good looks and goofy charm, along with Robertson’s seeming desire for what might be best described as marital masochism, keep her basking in that unhealthy glow. Matters hardly improve when the couple leaves Scotland to live in San Francisco. Neither can make much of their careers; Robertson’s procession of bad writing jobs would be enough to discourage any aspiring scribe, and a long visit from her beleaguered, ever-bickering parents only serves as another example of love gone awry. Robertson holds on to her sanity by playing the accordion at some dubious San Francisco nightclubs (a fellow performer at one sports a spark-spewing metal bikini). Jack, alas, keeps playing the same old tune. Robertson’s account is dark, stark, and as bitter as Scottish ale. --Allison Block
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2008. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 256 pages. In Stock. Seller Inventory # __0007230214
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Book Description Fourth Estate, 2008. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0007230214
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