Book reviews


I found Ludmila and The Lonely by Paul Gallico to be slightly too soppy for my taste. I loved Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico and overlooked the soppiness in that story because I loved the movie starring Angela Lansbury as Mrs ‘Arris, but this time around the overblown sentimentality made me cringe.

Ludmila is a story about a poor little cow who doesn’t have much milk, who comes good and proves her worth to everyone after a miracle. The blurb on the back says the story is the retelling of “a charming pastoral legend of old Liechtenstein.” At least the story was short and the drawings by Reisie Lonette were sweet. (I know, I know, I’m such a cow for saying this. Moo to you too).

The Lonely is also a short story, and was the most unlikely match for Ludmila that I could have imagined. I expect they were only published together because of the suitability of their length.

The Lonely tells the story of Jerry, a young American man in England during WW2 who was forced by his superior officer to take leave. Jerry asked Patches, who was in the WAAF and who conveniently had leave due to her at the same time, to holiday with him in Scotland. The arrangement was that at the end of their holiday Jerry and Patches would wish each other good luck and go their separate ways, after their couple of weeks of ‘fun.’

This story was more complicated, as Jerry had a fiancé at home in the USA whom he thought of as a goddess. Patches was in love with Jerry, but like a good sport, hid her true feelings from him. In my opinion Jerry was an immature idiot, who needed a few more years to grow up before he launched himself on any woman.

Paul Gallico also wrote The Poseidon Adventure, the movie of which gave me nightmares for years afterwards. The scene where a character jumps and swings from a burning-hot wheel to open or shut something, I forget which, in order to save the other characters before falling into the fire below is something I have never managed to forget.

The Snow Goose is held up to be this author’s best work. I haven’t read this, but plan to some time.


Comments on: "Ludmila and The Lonely by Paul Gallico" (7)

  1. Hahaha – I think I’d agree with you about Jerry! Perhaps he should have spent a couple of weeks with Ludmilla and left Patches to find a nice man. Ooh, must watch The Poseidon Adventure again sometime – isn’t that the one where Shelley Winters bravely swims to her death to save everyone too?

  2. Ludmilla was too sweet for Jerry too.
    I’d forgotten about Shelley Winters’ role. There were more brave people amongst that group than you would expect… After years of watching The Love Boat I sometimes think I would like to go on a cruise, but then I remember The Poseidon Adventure…

  3. What a variety there is in his works! Considering he wasn’t a great writer and never considered himself as such, he did pretty well. I think of him as a writer of sweet little cat books – having been reminded of him by a recent reading of The Silent Miaow. I hadn’t heard of Ludmilla or Mrs ‘arris; I’d entirely forgotten that he wrote The Snow Goose and I certainly wouldn’t have connected him with The Poseidon Adventure. I have been toying with reading his other twee cat books and now I’m thinking of adding The Snow Goose to the winter reading plan. No plans to add Ludmilla though and not sure I’d want to read The Poseidon Adventure. I loved all the disaster movies around that time. Now of course, they are tame and have lost their tension and terror. I can’t see the book beating what I remember of the film.

  4. I don’t intend to read or watch The Poseidon Adventure, ever! The terror (which you call tame!) still exists in my memory!
    Sweet little cat books, maybe….
    You’re right about the variety in his works. I hadn’t considered that in my review, but it would have been worth mentioning. The comment that he didn’t consider himself a great writer is interesting too, have you read a biography or non fiction by this author? He must have been able to make his living from his work, especially after The Poseidon Adventure.

  5. Oh, I was terrified at the time! And yes, I’m sure he did very nicely. He described himself as a storyteller rather than a writer. (And now I’m off to try and work out why my name has changed in my original reply. Most odd…)

  6. Well, as a story teller he is just as successful.
    Your original comment was under your name, then changed when I replied… I’m terrible with technology, so assumed that it wasn’t you and that I had been confused!

  7. Ha! I’m hopeless too. How very odd. Never mind, it shall remain one of life’s mysteries! 🙂

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