Customer Reviews


19 Reviews
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story of a woman painter, offered her 'muse'.
Quite simply one of the best descriptions of the creative process I have ever read. There's a point early on when you realise that any expectations of an action filled plot or an angst ridden romance will not be realised. Instead Mary Gordon describes a journey through the process of creating art, in ideal circumstances. What is riveting is how arduous that task...
Published on 12 April 2000

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars embaressing junk from Mary Gordon
I have read all of Mary Gordon's novels, and believe that she has been on a downward trajectory since her wonderful "Final Payments". Gordon's complaints about the Catholic Church are worse than cliched: they are passe. The Church she criticizes -- directly or indirectly -- hasn't existed in decades. Gordon is like a person of age 25 who is stuck in...
Published on 2 Sept. 1998


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story of a woman painter, offered her 'muse'., 12 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending (Paperback)
Quite simply one of the best descriptions of the creative process I have ever read. There's a point early on when you realise that any expectations of an action filled plot or an angst ridden romance will not be realised. Instead Mary Gordon describes a journey through the process of creating art, in ideal circumstances. What is riveting is how arduous that task remains. At the same time the narrative is as refreshing and nourishing as one of the delicious meals she desribes her characters eating. Sensuality, sexual and creative dilemmas, a wonderful evocation of how one painter 'sees' and a thought provoking comment on the trials of the female artist. Brilliant. I read it twice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and steamy yet ultimately disappointing., 26 Mar. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
This was really a "good read." Great if you need something for an airplane or the beach but can't stomach Danielle Steele drivel. It was quite steamy and really pulled you into the story. In particular, its portrayal of what it is like to have money in Manhattan is appealing and right on the money. Unfortunately, this book could have been a lot more. If only Mary Gordon had accomplished what I think she set out to do, this novel would have been amazing because its basic premise is SO INTERESTING. Unfortunately, some of the subplots seem contrived (especially the right-wing conspiracy from high school)and some of the secondary characters so static and stereotypical. And the writing was not up to Gordon's usual standards. If you are at all interested in gender politics, however, you should DEFINITELY read this book because the issues that it raises and the situation that it poses are so interesting. The male is the benefactor and the muse and the model and the female artist who is the center of this book is interesting, complicated and a very sympathetic character. She has the same conundrum as the feminist who supports Bill Clinton but her situation is so much more fascinating because it also involves issues of art, the gaze, sex, power, and money. I would recommend reading this book for anyone interested in these issues just for the questions that it raises. Is she a sell-out or has she empowered herself? Does she desire him or his power and money?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars embaressing junk from Mary Gordon, 2 Sept. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
I have read all of Mary Gordon's novels, and believe that she has been on a downward trajectory since her wonderful "Final Payments". Gordon's complaints about the Catholic Church are worse than cliched: they are passe. The Church she criticizes -- directly or indirectly -- hasn't existed in decades. Gordon is like a person of age 25 who is stuck in adolescenct rebellion and doesn't realize that nobody cares anymore if she breaks the rules. "Spending" reads like a satire of Gordon herself, rather than a comedy about love and money. It is time for Mary Gordon to stop trying to prove through her fiction that she is "over" the hangups about sex that the maligned nuns of her childhood instilled in her; if anything, the opposite seems true: Mary Gordon is trapped by her own resentments regarding Catholicism and it is effecting the quality of writing. She should grow up and stop trying to prove how sophisticated she is regarding sex. If she were really over the past, she'd let it go, especially since she can't even write well about it anymore.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars A dog's dinner of a novel, 1 Nov. 2014
By 
Ms. H. C. Bailey (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
Mary Gordon can write and write well. Her book is filled with challenging and thought provoking themes - art patronage, what it is to be a female artist and the sexualised undertones inherent in imagery of the deposed Christ. The latter theme I felt was crassly handled - those appalled with her contentious use of the post coital male as an overlay to images created by Renaissance masters - were narrow minded parodies. Our female artist - the sexually liberated heroine - was a victim of a Catholic upbringing who'd broken free from buttoned-up pettiness was painted as the heroine. This I found offensive and crude. Sex comes frequently and our heroines stamina is amazing, but I found it boring - 'oh God they're at it again!'. I was waiting for a point to be made about the voraciousness of her libido - none came. Maybe Mary Gordon would benefit from an author who could reign her in and help her explore her worthy themes without veering into a 50 shades type chicklit?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars leaves something to be desired, 12 Jun. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
Mary Gordon has created an entertaining and alluring read. She has also succeeded in doing what men have done for centuries in their art--creating an attractive but unrealistic love interest. The male muse in the novel, "B.," hardly seems human. Can any person in a sexual relationship be so completely undemanding, so unselfish as to never have any wants of their own? Also, by the end of the novel, 3 years have passed and only then does the question of love cross the mind of the protagonist, Monica. I'm just over 30 myself, but I hope that in middle age it does not take me 3 years of sex before the "L-word" is raised in my mind! Gordon's pat answer to the question of where artistic inspiration comes from is simply this: passionate sex. OK, but methinks real life is a bit more complicated. Still, I must admit this was an enjoyable, sensual story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Erotic, sometimes silly, but never stupid., 25 Mar. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you got what you wished for? Could you enjoy it? This book makes you think about that while it is tellling you an entertaining and erotic story. The book's main character, an artist, is at a point in her life when taking care of others is not a primary focus of her life. (Her children are in college.) Also, a man decides he wants to be her muse. He will do what female muses have been doing for male artists for centuries--he will take care of her (in every way) so she can focus on her work . "Spending" is a entertaining, sometimes silly, and fascinating story about feeling pleasure and fighting off waves of guilt. This book makes you realize a fundamental truth: Women aren't supposed to have this much fun!!! (Beware: if you like passive females, you'll hate the main character.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, intelligent summertime read of love & sex after 50., 16 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
Mary Gordon has given us another stimulating tale of a woman whose independent feminist lifestyle and "I'll do it myself'" forthworth attitudes are challenged when a muse appears in the form of a very attractive man who is dedicated to supporting her art and whatever else she wishes.
What evolves are lifestyle compromises that some of us have made, and may find that the compromises are laced with challenges, that when faced, prompt us to question ourselves and become more deeply intimate in our relationships.
It is hot, hot, hot, entertaining and although a fantasy, is laced with realistic examples of how our feminist ideals are tempered by the realities of life.
A must read for those of us who came of age with Gloria and have gone the way of Jane (or may like to...).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very witty and fun book with provocative themes, 23 Aug. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
I heard a radio interview of the author discussing her book "The Shadow Man" (purchased but haven't read yet) where the idea for "Spending" was also mentioned and couldn't stop wondering how the novel would unfold with a 50 yr old woman painter and her male muse. The book is surprisingly funny and uplifting! I laughed so much especially the section on the Charlie Rose interview that my husband decided he would read the book too. Unfortunately, he will need to wait because I already passed it on to one of my girlfriends. How refreshing to read a novel where the main woman character is post menopause yet sexy, intelligent, talented and is not abused nor abusive.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A plateful of profiteroles for smart women, 5 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
I read this is a day -- never forgetting that it's a UTOPIAN tale. SPENDING is a wonderful ode to the middle age fulfillment of appetites -- sexual, gustatory,sensual. Moreover, finally, we find a book that forthrightly accepts the notion that fifty year old, premenopausal women can have great sex. Gordon has written a creampuff of a novel for thinking women. And fortunately, unlike the case of more tepid paeons to midddle age romance like BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, the reader doesn't have to feel ashamed of herself the morning after.
ps. Mary. Why didn't you include some of the recipes!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book by its cover, 25 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Spending: A Utopian Divertimento (Hardcover)
I was intrigued enough by the inside cover and recent reviews to buy her book, but found it painful to read; the writing style is crudely simple and terribly contrived (not in the least bit witty). The story line follows the stereotypic recipe of artist as starving, self-indulgent martyr. As a writer/artist herself, Mary Gordon should know better. The issues the main character faces are so old and crusty one can practically smell the mold between pages. "middle-aged old-school feminist struggles to retain relevant contemporary hipster status"one word: yuck. (to put it simply)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Spending: A Utopian Divertimento
Spending: A Utopian Divertimento by Mary Gordon (Hardcover - 23 Mar. 1998)
Used & New from: £1.28
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews