Rumplestilted and Cindersmella: A Review of The Glitter and the Gold by Mavis Winder

Photo by Christopher Willard. Fair use for Review.

I’ve been reading The Count of Monte Cristo with the wonderful translation by Robin Buss, so my reading has slowed down — this thing is something like 1300 pages long. I’ll write a review in the next lightyear when I’ve completed it.

At about page 500 I took a break to read this little book I found in a freebie bin at a local coffee shop. How to resist. In no more than an hour I had consumed it.

Extremely thin with maybe 8 point text printed in 1971 The Glitter and The Gold has literally turned gold as the bad paper has yellowed. The only thing that supposedly glitters about this book is an ad on the back cover for Bravington rings, “Take the ring road to Bravingtons. Parking is easy on Saturdays.” However, the rings in the ad are poor drawings and I can only make it up to Trafalgar Square on Mondays. As for the author, I’m not convinced Mavis Winder is anything but a pseudonym of someone hired to pen pulpy piffle at words by the pence.

I fully expected this book to be about as much fun as watching a kid pick his nose and slowly slide his finger toward his lips. I was not disappointed.

Amanda aka Mandy who has lost her job and has £10 to her name has just spent money to see a movie where in the lobby she spies her ex-fiance Derry who is dating her best friend and rival Lisa and where she meets both Todd and trepidation. “For the first time, the fear that he was probably a married man caught hold of her. How ghastly, especially if they were seen by some of his friends.” I’m a bit disappointed there wasn’t an exclamation point after this line. Opportunity lost. But dear reader, breath a sigh of relief, he’s not married. “I really think we should introduce ourselves. I’m Todd Hemmersley, Dental Surgeon. Age — thirty-three.”

By the way his name is an anagram of Remodeled Myths. Put that one in your deconstructive pipe and cogitate over it.

What’s the name of this book again? The Gutter and the Gal?

After the movie and dinner, they drive to Mandy’s apartment where a rip-roaring party is going on and so Mandy can’t go home because coats will be all over her bed. She wouldn’t have invited Todd up so don’t think dirty. It doesn’t matter anyway because once she does go home her roomie says she’d like Mandy to move out. Good thing Toddly Do-Right appeared in the right place at the right time.

Todd lives in a house with his daughter Pippa (maybe she grew up to be the Royal Breeder?) and his mother-in-law Nan and Mandy is allowed to sleep in Pippa’s room for the night, because of the party. Remember?

What’s the name of this book again? The Titter and the Bold?

Mystery creeps into our tale. On page 18 and leaking onto page 19 it looks like someone had a nosebleed or spilled soup. You never know what you’ll find in a freebie book. Should I go get a hepatitis shot?

Mandy and Todd, begin to sort of date. Mandy bides her time at home as she looks forward to upcoming dates. “Mandy got busy with some washing, ironing, making small repairs here and there on her clothes, which once she would have never bothered to do. She would simply have thrown the undies away. But she couldn’t afford to do that now.” See? Just when we thought we were talking about innocent budding love suddenly we’re talking about used undies.

Pay attention dear readers. This is the mark of a genius writer, they keep us off guard with their plottish unpredictabilities. And as for tossing out clothes we wore, we have to remember Primark didn’t exist in 1971, founded only in 1981.

What’s the name of this book again? The Gibber and the Goad?

On page 24, on their second night of dating, Todd the man who will never marry and if so only to provide a mother for his Pippa says, “Mandy, will you marry me?” BTW, Barry Manilow’s grotesque ballad came out only in 197,4, just sayin’. “He said gravely: ‘Have I shocked you, Mandy?’”

All that glitters is not gold however. She is Amanda, I mean adamant that she won’t marry Todd. She leaves. Not long after as she walks slowly away from town toward the river… “Then she realized that a car was being driven slowly along the street beside her, [one wonders how long it took her to realize this] and she stopped and looked at it. Todd’s!” Finally got that exclamation point in there didn’t you Mavis. Todd steps out and a tiring conversation ensues:

“Sorry todd, I’m much too tired….I’m much too tired to get a meal for myself….sensing her tiredness: “You’ve more than had it today, haven’t you….I’m much too tired to argue with you….Todd was fully aware of her weariness.” Don’t worry dear reader. She wakes up the next day “more refreshed than she expected.”

What’s the name of this book again? The Tingle and the Glob?

As Shakespeare wrote, “Gilded tombs to worms enfold.” Todd is as intriguing as sandpaper and Mandy is as clever as a cement block. Oh, but watch as she lures him with her cluck headed wiles and he casts those come-hither looks that only a dental surgeon can cast. Psst, Hey Todd, those undies she’s wearing aren’t new.

They go out for dinner and now it’s time for dessert. “She picked up her spoon and began to eat her fresh fruit salad and ice-cream. It was something to do with her hands, [I would argue it was also something to do with her mouth, but I didn’t write this book] which were trembling so violently that she had difficulty putting the spoon to her mouth. Todd, absorbed in his own problems, [that might have been his food and likely a banana split with walnuts, at any rate I consider that a big problem because I hate walnuts] seemed not to notice.” I can’t make out who knew he seemed not to notice. She would have seen that he noticed or didn’t notice. He wouldn’t have been able to recognize he seemed not to notice because he would have had to notice what he wasn’t noticing to be aware of his seeming not to notice.

What’s the name of this book again? The Grifter and the Dolt?

Pretty soon it’s Todd’s turn to get tired. “She looked across at him and noticed how tired he appeared. She said solicitously: ‘You’re tired, Todd. Had a busy day?” Maybe he’d been reading this book and was struggling with the tedious ongoing insipidity and banality.

Hurrah! Now we’ll wake up. Something lascivious comes our way:

There is longing: “By five o’clock she was longing for a cup of tea.”

There is reference to her innocence: “…as they walked along the grass verging the river…” Oh my mistake. I got all excited over the homonymic imaginings.

There is love: “And while we’re in Brighton, let’s have a swim. I’d love that part of it, Mandy.” And hardly a sentence later, “Pippa loved shopping.”

There is desire: “I won’t come in Todd, I’ve no desire to clash with her again.”

Dear reader, I admit, I blushed as I read.

What’s the name of this book again? The Twitter and the Told?

Poor poor hot Toddy. He’s barely able to keep it together against her seduction. “He had had difficulty in holding himself in check, in exercising the iron restraint he new was necessary in this situation.”

Meanwhile Mandy is attending to, well, uh, something private but let’s let the text speak for itself. “She flushed and laughed lightly to hide her confusion.”

We’re almost at the end of the book but, surprise her ex-fiance surprises her and “she felt her heart doing strange things in her breast.” Oh my. When I saw the word “breast,” I admit, I tittered. Lovelorn Mandy wonders, can she go back to Derry? She quickly has the answer. “No! One word. Stark. Indomitable.” Or at least one word followed by two other words. Meanwhile Todd knows about her sideways glancing heart doing unnamable things in her breast and he calls off the marriage.

Stop the presses. There’s a ring! “Then, before they could ring the bell, the door was flung open” and then a couple paragraphs later, “‘Don’t be too shocked, Fay,’ he said, “but there isn’t a ring.” Technically correct.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

The Litter and the Mold.

Dear reader, if you’ve come this far, you deserve to be rewarded. Mandy is in Todd’s hands, so to speak, her mouth is open with longing, he’s intent on thrusting and pushing, in other words, well let’s let the text revel in all it’s written storytelling glory:

“Many weeks after Mandy’s break with Todd a back tooth began giving her trouble, and she knew this was an opportunity she intended to take to meet up with Todd again. He was not her regular dentist, but she rang and made an appointment, stating that she particularly wanted Mr. Hemmersley and not one of his assistants.” The appointment is scheduled and Mandy shows up. “Mandy said, unnaturally brightly because her heart seemed suddenly to be turning somersaults: ‘Hello, Todd. Hadn’t I better get up there? indicating the patient’s chair.” Whether the heart is turning somersaults in her breast or not is not stated.

Now prepare yourself.

“She thrilled to the touch of his hands, gentle, firm, though inwardly Todd was anything but composed. He had to exercise iron control to hold that drill firmly, not to fumble, not to risk hurting this precious patient more than was absolutely necessary.

“It was over at last and he held out the glass for her to rinse her mouth….He walked away quickly, across to the basin to wash his hands, leaving her uncertain, confused, not quite trusting herself in this situation.”

Well, on the last page of the novel the clothes finally are off, “What Todd said was not clothed in words, but it was nonetheless satisfying.”

See folks, it’s this sort of stuff that causes things like Brexit.

Novelist, poet, a post-studio visual artist, and the founder of The Invisible Art Collective International. Recent novels include “Sundre” and “Garbage Head.”

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