Freud, Esther. Hideous Kinky. New York: Penguin, 1993.
Reason read: Morocco’s Independence Day is November 18th.
Esther Freud tells her autobiographical fiction through the eyes of a child. An emotionally untethered mother decides to leave dreary England for the exotic culture of Marrakech, Morocco with two young girls in tow. For money they rely on the kindness of strangers, selling homemade dolls by the side of the road, sewing clothes, and other small ventures. Occasionally and unpredictably, Lucy and Bea’s father would send money from London and they would eat well for awhile. While mother is exploring mysticism and unconventional relationships in the interest of self improvement, Bea and Lucy invent ways to not miss home and their father. Bea, being the elder, wants to replace London in Marrakech with school and stability. Lucy is young enough to want a replacement for the father they left behind. She sets her hopes on some interesting characters.
Quote that resonated with me, “She was the only person I knew who could turn off their ears like shutting an eye.” You, Esther Freud, have not met my mother.
Edited to add: there is a scene in Hideous Kinky that brings me back to a memory of my sister. I can’t unstick it from the walls of my mind. Maybe sharing it here will loosen the gluey nostalgia. One sister wants desperately to play with the other. She begs and begs until the other finally, reluctantly, and with great exasperation agrees. Pride steps in and the lonely sister stubbornly decides “too late!” I was the sister not wanting to play. Shut up in my bedroom with a good book, I clearly remember my sister’s little fingers poking under the door as she pleaded to please play with her. When I finally relented I flung open my bedroom door to find she had defiantly moved on. Touché, sister of mine!
Author fact: Freud is the great granddaughter of Sigmund. The celebrity degrees of separation doesn’t stop there. Freud is also the daughter of painter Lucien Freud.
Book trivia: Hideous Kinky was made into a movie in 1999 starring Kate Winslet. Nope. Haven’t seen it.
Nancy said: Pearl said absolutely nothing about Hideous Kinky.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “North African Notes” (p 158).