Literacy and Longing in L.A.

by Jennifer Kaufman, Karen Mack | Women's Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 9780385340182 Global Overview for this book
Registered by MartiP on 10/20/2007
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by MartiP on Saturday, October 20, 2007

Journal Entry 2 by MartiP on Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Complete disconnect. That's the only way to sum up Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack.

Let me preface this by saying that I love books with a theme of bibliophilia. I'll overlook a lot for the sake of some book love. But this is book love drowned in so much dreck one can't smell the roses for the stench.

The main character, Dora, supposedly is one of the most well-read people you'll ever meet. The book is dripping with her love of Eudora Welty, Austen, Twain, Shakespeare, etc. Oh, yes, she reads voraciously and is SOOOO very into good literature.

So why does this woman come across as just another Chick-Lit bimbo character who has never in her life had a thought deeper than a moderate dew in Arizona? Seriously. And you'll know, because we are treated to lots of inner monologue, consisting of mooning over banging the hot bookstore guy (bubble bath, handcuffs, booooring. If you're going to get kinky at least be original), and more mentions of Prada, Chanel, Dolce, and the self-obsessed "in" L.A. crowd than I can stomach. Sorry, but it doesn't jibe.

There is no way in hell this woman loves Dorothy Parker as much as she claims, and lives a mental life of such sad, sad, SAD paucity.

Let me clue the authors in to a basic truth they seem to have missed: women who adore Parker, and carry her around in portable version, do not get seriously angsty over whether their 35-year-old eyes are drooping by the thinnest hair, and need a little tuck. They might think about it, but it ain't the main course on their mental menu. The mere process of reading and absorbing a little Parker would result in more self-respect than that, if only by OSMOSIS, fer Christ's sake.

As for Fred, the hot-bookstore-guy love interest, he's even more shallowly drawn than the protagonist. He's Vinnie Barbarelli with lots of great literary quotations tacked onto him like a disturbing prosthesis. I don't think the authors were aiming for him to be a two-dimensional idiot savant (who is great in the sack) but that's what they wrote. The sex scenes themselves are a big yawn, and couldn't be more cliched. They are worse than a low-budget version of Sex in the City, except done in the tackiest 80's music video style, without the snappy dialogue.

Do I sound a little angry, almost? Well I am, a little, because it's such a waste. Because one can tell two things about one or both of the authors when reading this book: 1) She has decent writing skills, and 2) there is a deep and genuine love of good books in there somewhere, as well as more intellect than is apparent in the story she chose to tell. There are snippets of comments that are "Yes!" provoking in their insight into books and booklovers. And she chose to wrap it all in day old garbage soaked newspaper. One gets the sneaking feeling it was for commercial reasons, to boot. Shame on her!

Word to the author (s): Next time, write something you'd really want to read, rather than something you think will market well. Trust me, real readers know the difference.

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