The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Susan Koslow
The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow begins when Molly is already dead. Through memories and what Molly observes in the lives of her loved ones after her death, we learn about Molly's life, especially her seven years of marriage to plastic surgeon Barry Marx and her too-short time as little Annabel's mother.
Koslow does an effective job of slowly revealing details about Molly's life and her death through this funny, touching narrative. Were Molly and Barry content in their marriage? How did Molly die? And was it murder, suicide, or an accident?
An excerpt from the beginning of the book, when Molly is observing her funeral:
"Wherever it is I’m off to, I hope they notice the shoes—black satin, terrifyingly high slingbacks, with excellent toe cleavage. I only wore them once, those shoes, and that night Barry and I barely left the dance floor. When we shimmied and whirled, it was almost like sex: we became the couple people thought we were. The Dr. and Mrs. Marx I, at least, wanted us to be. I loved watching Barry move his runner’s body in that subtle but provocative way of his, and how he nestled his hand on the small of my back, then cupped my butt for the whole world to see. It’s a pity we couldn’t have merengued through life as if it were one endless Fred and Ginger movie."
I left the book feeling more than a little down. Molly's life, and those of her friends and family, seem to be filled with missed opportunities. I couldn't help wishing, when the details of Molly and Barry's relationship are revealed, that she had left him on their wedding day. And I just can't shake how horrible losing her mother at the age of almost four would be for Annabel; besides the lack of her mother, who obviously loved Annabel a great deal, in her growing up years, she would also have absolutely no first-hand memories of her mother as an adult. Guess that hits a little too close to my life since my daughter is only five.
In the end, without revealing any specifics, how choices Molly made and the way she treated the people she loved mattered a great deal more than how and why she died. And isn't that the way real life should be?
My overall personal rating of The Late, Lamented Molly Marx is a B+.