My latest novel is the short trashy Shampoo by Robert Alley. I have never seen the movie, which no doubt would have made the novel make a lot more sense. Alley based his novel on the screenplay and I can imagine that the main reader base for a book like this would be those who had already seen the movie. Nineteen chapters over 158 pages meant that a lot of action took place yet without a lot of continuity. I couldn’t make sense why things were happening so fast (and often, why things were happening at all) yet if I had already seen the movie then my memory would do the job of filling in the blanks. Without continuity each chapter seemed to function independently and pretty soon after I started the book I just wanted to finish it since it wasn’t making much sense to me anyway.

Warren Beatty’s character, the hypersexual hairdresser George, is sleeping with his girlfiend (Goldie Hawn), his ex-girlfriend (Julie Christie), his future investor’s wife (Lee Grant) and this wife’s daughter (Carrie Fisher). A lot of sex and a lot of women who know that George is a sleazebag yet they put up with him. Why? Because they love him and his salon and fall into a trance whenever he does their hair. The women who work at the salon are shallow airheads and the men are stereotypically and offensively gay. A bunch of people I don’t care about, nor the protagonists for that matter.  

This was one of my ancient reads I had had kicking around for years. I bought this book in 1987 at a bookstore coowned by my former high school French and German teacher, Miss (Maret) Kapp. I visited Miss Kapp’s store, Livres Mercier, since it was Mississauga’s only French bookstore, and I wanted to patronize her business when I bought books for university. She also stocked second-hand books, which I love to browse through as well. I remember buying this book along with Anne Hébert’s Kamouraska, which I was reading in my Quebec Novel university course that year.

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