The IHOP Papers - Plot


The IHOP Papers follows the life of Francesca, a disgruntled twenty year-old virgin lesbian, originally from Southern California who falls in love with her female junior college professor, Irene. After spending some time together, Irene tells Francesca of her plan to undertake a sabbatical in San Francisco, a move that will involve residing with two of her former students—a man and a woman—who are both Irene's lovers. After revealing her amorous feelings to Irene in a letter, Francesca decides to follow her to San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Francesca moves in with Irene and her lovers, Jenny and Gustavo, in an apartment they have nicknamed "Simplicity House," where simple living and nonviolence are practiced. Initially unemployed, Francesca proceeds to search for a job and becomes a hostess at an IHOP; she is quickly promoted to a waitressing position. After a month in San Francisco, Francesca leaves Simplicity House in order to have her own apartment.

The remainder of the story follows Francesca and her intense love for Irene. Along the way, while still in love with Irene, Francesca falls in love with other women, including Jenny, Maria, Francesca's Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, and at least two other women. A significant portion of the book is devoted to Francesca's loathing for job, especially her uniform.

The novel is written in first-person from Francesca's perspective. She is portrayed as writing the story in her apartment after her relocation to San Francisco.

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