Thursday, June 9, 2011

'The Gin Closet' by Leslie Jamison

Brief Synopsis from author's website:
In the late 1960’s, Tilly Rudolph abandons her middle-class home in the suburbs and flees to the seedy underworld of Reno.  She stays away for decades, working as a prostitute, nursing various addictions, and eventually drinking herself to the brink of death in a dusty trailer park.  One day, after nearly thirty years without a family, her niece Stella shows up on her doorstop from New York City and changes both their lives forever.

First thoughts after finishing:  There are so many damaged people in this world. Many keep the damage to themselves while others have absolutely no problem dragging everyone else in their life down with them. This wasn't a lighthearted read by any means and it wasn't even one that I particularly enjoyed. But there was something about the way the author crafted the characters that made me care about them and made me want to hear their twisted as it was.

Recommend? Yes and No. Yes, if you enjoy reading about the inner demons of women and the destructive ways that they punish their bodies as if that will somehow make their life right again. No, if you don't enjoy reading about dysfunction. I do want to add that I thought the author's voice was exquisite and that the story flowed beautifully. The subject material was depressing and made me sad. The book elicited emotions from me and that counts for something.

Rating: 7.5/10

The Gin Closet by Leslie Jamison
 Source: review copy from author/Simon & Shuster
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 288
Published: May 3, 2011
ISBN: 9781439153239

Disclaimer:Thank you to Leslie Jamison and Simon & Shuster for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.
 © 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Having been there, done that... but never wrote the book... lol... I would probably enjoy this one! Thanks for the honest feedback! :):):):):):):):):):):):)

  2. I think this would be too depressing for me!

  3. I usually avoid the heavy stuff. I guess I don't want books to make me too sad

  4. I love the emotional destruction kind books, great review. I actually have had this on my Kindle for a year now and found the first few chapters hard to get into, I put it aside and forgot about it. It is definitely my kind of read so I should try again.

  5. I enjoyed this book but not as much as most people did. Even though I enjoy reading about dysfunction, it was a little too dark for me.

  6. Not exactly my cup of tea (or gin), but then again I never thought something like The Glass Castle would appeal to me and I loved it!

  7. Sounds like a good book but one I'll pass up this time round.

  8. Sounds like an intense read and one I would have to be in the right frame of mind for. Thanks for the review.

  9. Although I can tell this is not for me, I see you rated it quite high.I'm probably missing some good writing.

  10. A touching review Staci, I enjoy reading about dysfunction but not so keen when it's completely depressing.

  11. Interesting review! I sometimes find it hard to read about books like this but I did enjoy A Million Little Pieces by James Frey so I might like this one too. Thanks for sharing!

  12. yes, life is sad for a lot of people . . . so sad.

  13. This is another book that sounds interesting - I will have to read it!

  14. I don't shy away from dysfunction but for some reason, I am not drawn to this one. Maybe it's the prostitution aspect of it.

  15. Not my cup of tea, but I can understand why you read it and finished it, for that matter. Kudos Staci who are stronger than me.

  16. I have wanted to read this book for ages. This story just appeals to me.

  17. I agree that it is a very dark and sad story, but I loved it because the writing was so good. I remember reading it and thinking that I wish I could write like that!

  18. Leslie Jamison to me

    show details Jun 11 (7 days ago)

    Hey Staci,

    Thanks for your review; I'm glad you enjoyed the book--it was heavy to write, as well as heavy to read. It elicited an interesting string of comments as well.

    Thanks for taking the time and giving the energy; it really means a lot.



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