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Author: Mary Gordon
Monica Szabo, a middle-aged, moderately successful painter, encounters B, a wealthy commodities broker who collects her work. B volunteers to be her muse, offering her everything that male artists have always had to produce great art: time, space, money, and sex. — Passionate, provocative, and highly engaging, Spending displays Gordon's maver...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780684852041
ISBN-10: 0684852047
Publication Date: 3/11/1999
Pages: 304
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 22 ratings
Publisher: Scribner
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Spending on + 224 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I really like Mary Gordon and was excited to read this book, but just could not get into it. I rarely put a book down and try to go back to it later, but I did that with this book and still couldn't make it work for me. If you like feminist literature, she's a great and intelligent writer and you may be able to get into the groove that I just wasn't able to grab!
reviewed Spending on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Mary Gordon has an entertaining writing style. The characters in the book did not resonate with me.
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reviewed Spending on + 105 more book reviews
I have read an autobiographical work by Gordon, and at least one other fiction work as well, although I don't have the fiction listed here. So I must have read it before I joined bookcrossing or Goodreads. I remember enjoying it, though, as much for Gordon's wit and attitude as for the story itself.

This book is a cut above. First, we treated with a realistic portrait of an artist, although of course every artist works differently. Monica Szabo spends months on one painting, only after exploring her subjects in many smaller tests. She works long hours, consumed. She has earned a reputation as a fine artist yet is still nervous every time she has an exhibit opening.

It is at one of these openings that she meets B. He tells her that he owns several of her paintings and values her work. He also reveals that he has a lot of money and would love to support her work, provide what she needs to create at her best.

Monica is suspicious about money. She does not want to be bought. At the same time she is attracted to B. She gets to know him, and gradually lets him pay for many things. Throughout the novel she is struggling with her feelings about money, about spending, and her struggle often reveals itself through irritation and anger. She will not make it easy for B.

The novel is told with the wit I expected. In it Gordon also creates a world of women I would love to inhabit. In different ways the women are all strong, intelligent, and thoughtful and have unexpected insight into themselves and others. The conversations between women and between men and women were a source of delight to me. There is none of the typical defensiveness even when the conversations turn sour.

Might be a spoiler:

In the end, what does Monica think about money? She has come some distance from childhood views, able to appreciate what money can do, but more importantly, able to appreciate her own place in the world.