Pulpy and Midge is Broken Pencil's Fiction Book of the Issue!

By Colleen Gillis
Broken Pencil
Issue 38

Pulpy and Midge is a very nice book about very nice people. Pulpy and Midge are gentle, kind, and in an enviable amount of love. Maybe I don't read enough books about nice people, but Pulpy really got to me.

Here is how nice Pulpy is: He wipes his feet at the door; he is kind to the receptionist; he feels guilty about not remembering her name. Sure, Pulpy can be too nice. But so what if he lets people finish his sentences? He calls Midge every day at lunch from the pay phones in the food court.

In Pulpy and Midge, you end up genuinely liking the title characters, not just as characters, but as people. And the more I liked Pulpy, the more I liked his author. Westhead has a real gift for dialogue, creating a vibrant world that exists almost completely between quotation marks. Pulpy's corporate life is rendered perfectly; Westhead knows how important small things like coffee mugs and potlucks become within the confines of a cubicle. She also knows ho important even smaller things like a shrug or a smirk are when a very nice person like Pulpy runs up against people who are not very nice.

Westhead is an expert in creating tension, whether it is between or within characters. Because almost everyone in Pulpy and Midge is polite, the tension inhabits the spaces between lines, cold as ice. Like I said, I'm not used to reading books about nice people; I'm even less accustomed to reading very nice books about very nice people that completely terrify me.

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