Sunday, August 10, 2008

Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack

My husband found this one for me at our local independent book store. I actually read it quite awhile back, but haven't gotten around to reviewing it. It is the story of Dora, an out of work journalist in Los Angeles who is recently divorced from a wealthy Hollywood producer. Dora is also a reader, which is why my husband recommended the book to me.

STRENGTHS OF LITERACY AND LONGING IN L.A.: Dora is a wonderfully funny character with a great cast of supporting characters. Dora does have some weird quirks like retreating to her bathtub with a pile of books for a few days when things get hard to handle or her inability to drive on the LA freeways. Both quirks lead to humorous events where Dora is faced with her new lover during her bath or having to drive the freeways to complete a story that might get her a job at the local newspaper. In both cases, Dora is rescued by her best friend, a female non-reading teamster. Dora frequents a local bookstore where she meets her new lover who is a bookseller and would-be playwright. Dora's conversations with him become somewhat stereotypical of snobbish literary discussions, however, the authors are able to turn this on its head with Dora's wry observations as she observes her own behavior. That's part of the fun of the story.

WEAKNESSES OF LITERACY AND LONGING IN L.A.: I didn't really like some of the strange plot twists. Dora's ex-husband reappears to help her in the story, and it doesn't really make sense with her character that she falls all over him. I also didn't really like the subplot with the dead sister of the new lover and Dora's involvement with his mother and niece. I understood that the authors were trying to bring Dora out of herself and into the real world, away from her world of books. I thought she lost some of her wry, observer's edge at this point in the story.

Overall, I'd give this one three stars. Dora is a great character and I enjoyed all the literary references throughout the story. It does have two authors and felt, at times, like it was written by committee. If you've read this one, I'd love to know about it.

No comments: