Friday, September 16, 2011

Romance Novel: The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue, Author: Barbara Samuel

"My mother said she was a drunk, but she wasn't. I knew even then that my mother was just afraid of Lucille. Afraid of her sexuality, afraid of her courage, afraid of her version of womanhood. Afraid it would leak out of her house somehow, like bad water, to poison the whole neighborhood." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Why are people like this? Why do they see someone living a genuine, fulfilled life, true to themselves, and instantly fear their lack of conformity? Why do they have to squash such people with lies and harmful gossip?

Clearly, if one person has the courage to be uniquely themselves even when it means flying in the face of societies expectations, it makes it easier for another person to do it also. Isn't that a good thing?

"The men stopped to admire her back...But mostly they stopped to hear that wild, bold poppy laugh come out of her throat. Stopped to have her admire them. Stopped to be watered by her joy." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

"watered by her joy" I love that. I hope that I have that effect on people sometimes. I hope that I water people with my joy sometimes.

"We've had our share of dark times, too, times when I wanted to take a meat cleaver to his stubborn old head." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Been there, felt that. Glad it passed without incident.

"It helps to say fuck a lot." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

I find that to be true. However, I do subscribe to the notion put forth by George Carlin or Lenny Bruce (I've heard it attributed to both) that it isn't an insult to say 'fuck you'. If you want to insult someone you'd want to deprive them of pleasure so better to say 'unfuck you'.

"Work is's not the job I thought I'd end up with..." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Having just started a new j.o.b. I completely resonate with this. It's just a place to work. It's a paycheck. If I could do anything for a living that I wanted to, I'd either read or write or both.

"Here is one thing that is good about being forty-six: I Have A Granddaughter." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Substitute fifty-four for forty-six, add 'And A Grandson' and this could be me talking. ;)

The book is full of quotes like this one:
"Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing and it becomes chronic in their sick minds." Juvenal (A.D. 60-130)

And quotes from a Spanish poet I never heard of before named Federico Garcia Lorca:
"And at the full of night,
The night benighted by nightfall."
"Cuando llegaba la noche,
Noche que noche nochera."

"I used to think I was a pretty nice person...But here is what I've learned: It's easy to be nice when everything is fine. Take a few body blows, and the character shows up in a hurry. I am as evil as anyone I've ever met." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

I feel bad for people who rush to turn a negative situation around immediately without really looking at it for what it is. It's like they are afraid of experiencing their sadness or pain. I don't think it goes away with no consequences, though. Instead it turns on you in the form of illness or limits you because you spend so much time and effort avoiding it.

"That skirt is to young for you..."
"I have good legs and my generation invented miniskirts, so we get to wear them as long as we want." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

You tell 'em, sister!

"-"You know what I want to do to you?"
I laugh. It's an old game. One we invented to survive PTA meetings and boring recitals and long events we didn't particularly want to attend." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Now this is a fun husband. Where do I find a husband like this? Or do they only exist in romance novels?

"My wild Celtic heart." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

I have a wild Celtic heart. I only have one ancestor who wasn't Celtic. I don't believe in god. I do believe in cell memory. And in my cells there is the memory of worshipping goddesses; of dancing on moors under the moon on windy nights around balefires.

This book has several entries about goddesses. I like them all but this one is my favorite:
"Kali is depicted with black skin. She wears a necklace of skulls, carries a knife to cut through illusion, a mirror of reflection and drinks from a skull cup of blood. She stands above her disemboweled lover, phallus erect, his blood feeding the earth. Her visage is terrifying. She is loved and feared for her destructive powers, for she is both womb and tomb simultaneously."

Whether she's writing as Barbara Samuel as she does for this book, or Barbara O'Neal as she does for some other books we've talked about, Barbara never disappoints. It's a beautiful book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Gotta get to sleep now so I can go to my j.o.b. tomorrow. It felt good to spend some time in the world of putting words to paper for a while.


  1. Wow. This sounds like a book I really have to read. Wonderful quotes!

    "...watered by her joy." Love that!

  2. "Now this is a fun husband. Where do I find a husband like this? Or do they only exist in romance novels?"

    They exist; I have one. And, yes, I know how lucky that makes me. :)

  3. Sounds like a great book, thanks for all the excerpts. I've never read any of hers, but I keep hearing about them.

  4. Aww, Judy. I'm a huge Samuel fan. Thanks so much for this. I loaned my copy of GofKA to a writer buddy many years ago. She moved to another state and I never got it back. I looooooved this book, and now you've caused me to remember that gorgeous prose, and to put it on my shopping list. Thanks for making my day.

    Oh, and I purchased BS's e-book Girls in the Basement. (Not the exact title)it's a collection of essays, for writers, and so fabulous and inspiring. ~Robena~ (in case it won't accept and I go anon.)

  5. Love the quotes.

    The book sounds like it would be a great read. It's always nice to take a test drive before picking up the book.

  6. I love Barbara! No matter what her last name is. Must find more of her books. Thanks for this Judy, and yes, Delia is correct, there really are husbands like that out there. I have one too. I say Thank You every damn day.

  7. Glad you all enjoyed this. It really is a good read. Barbara has mad writing skillz!

  8. 'watered by her joy' this describes so much of who i want to be, more than anything i want to be the kind of person who waters people with their joy.