She's Come Undone
"Mine is a story of craving: an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our first television was delivered..."— Dolores Price, She's Come Undone
She's Come Undone is a deeply affecting, often hilarious novel that centers around one of the most extraordinary characters in recent American fiction: wisecracking, ever-vulnerable Dolores Price, whose life we follow through her fortieth year. When we first meet Dolores in 1956, she is four years old, innocently unaware that the delivery of a television set will launch her tumultuous personal odyssey.
Through one thousand and one television nights, Dolores feeds herself the fantasies of melodramas and sitcoms and tries to understand the many faces of love and betrayal: her father, driven by lust and longing to leave his family; her mother, an emotionally fragile woman who battles mental illness; Grandma Holland, lace-curtain decent, peppery and proud, aching with unspoken feelings; and Jack Speight, the handsome upstairs neighbor whose ultimate betrayal will throw Dolores' life severely, nearly permanently, off-course.
What follows — obesity, sexual ambiguity, self-delusion, and madness — is the precursor to a radiant rebirth. It is not without labor pains, this new awakening. A surrogate family that includes an ancient Polka Queen disc jockey suffering from Parkinson's disease, the 6' 10" proprietor of Existential Drywall (motto: Responsible Work for Authentic Individuals") and her former high school guidance counselor Mr. Pucci, helps Dolores find happiness in small moments.
As endearingly familiar as Chiquita Banana jingles, Hula-Hoops and I Love Lucy, as mysterious and haunting as the cries of whales, She's Come Undone makes us laugh and wince with recognition and reminds us that despite the pain we endure and cause, we must find the courage to love again.
She's Come Undone was chosen as a finalist for the 1992 Los Angeles Times Book Awards' Art Seidenbaum Prize for first fiction. It was named a notable book of the year by numerous publications, including The New York Times Book Review and People.