Thursday, April 30, 2020

Library Loot Mini-Reviews: Earnest Pretentiousness

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Yes, librarians use the library.  At least this librarian does. I also, apparently, haven't figured out that I can suspend my holds because they all came in at once.  So it's time for more library reading mini-reviews!

I read about Pulp by Robin Talley over at Love in Panels and was intrigued by the set-up.  Present-day teenager, still pining for her ex-girlfriend, troubled by her parents' unraveling marriage and, normally an exceptional student, letting her studies slide at her chichi Washington D.C. magnate high school. She has a big project due in her creative writing class, the kind that's pretty much thesis-like, and in a mad scramble for an idea (an idea!) lands on writing about 1950s lesbian pulp novels.  That's how she learns about "Marian Love," who wrote a seminal lesbian pulp novel in the late '50s and dropped off the face of the Earth.

This is a time-slip novel that goes between our heroine in present day and "Marian Love" in the 1950s - an 18-year-old girl, in the closet, living at home with her McCarthy-disciple parents.  This one took a while to catch fire for me, mostly because I found the characters in the present day storyline earnest in the extreme.  They're activist kids (not a complaint) but also self-absorbed in that special way that teenagers have about them.  But look, I'm old. I'm not the target audience. And I was a teenager once upon a time. Pretty sure my parents' generation thought the same thing about me and my friends. YMMV.  Anyway, what kept me moving forward on this book was the 1950s storyline and the present day heroine's sleuthing to find the real "Marian Love."  Oh how I wanted to get to that moment when these two meet!  It's romantic elements but doesn't have a traditional happy ending - which honestly, is fine.  The final "lesson" is that teenage girls, well your life is just beginning.  Grab it by the giblets.  Final Grade = B-

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I'm Your Huckleberry by Val Kilmer is a memoir that should be good. Instead it's scattershot and gets lost in the weeds.  He talks about his movies, but on a superficial level.  He talks about his past girlfriends, but doesn't really unpack that baggage.  Why did they break up? Why is he divorced?  Insert shrug emoji.  Reading in between the lines, and through this book, it's probably because Kilmer is borderline insufferable.  There's lots of spiritual talk in this book - Kilmer being a practicing Christian Scientist.  But he wanders off into these spiritual musings and...not why I'm reading your book dude.  I mean, I guess I should have clued in sooner when I realized he was a great friend and admirer of Marlon Brando.  Insert hand smacking forehead emoji.

If you're read any of the articles or reviews for this book, honestly you've already got all the juicy bits.  The only revelation missing so far is this one I'll share with you.  Contrary to press coverage from when she was dating John-John, Daryl Hannah and Jackie O were great friends.  Jackie LIKED Daryl.  They spent time together before Jackie died.  Although I'd argue that Jackie may have liked Daryl but possibly becoming the wife to the Crown Prince is another kettle of fish entirely.

I burned through this on audio in a matter of a couple of days, but mostly to be done with it.  This should have been good.  Narrator: It was not.  Final Grade = D

1 comment:

Jen Twimom said...

I've never been a big Kilmer fan - didn't dislike him but didn't obsess over him. But I've come to LOVE the show Psych, and the main characters love him. It's fun seeing that aspect in the show.