Monday, February 09, 2015

Extraordinary descriptions of ordinary occurrences

-Yesterday I - I! - drove to Los Angeles and, crucially, back from Los Angeles as well. Around it, too, even, a little bit. My husband (and former driving instructor) was with me, which was particularly helpful when I was driving on whichever part of the freeway has like 20 different lanes on either side of you. Given the driving involved, L.A. itself was a bit of a blur. We had some (all excellent) ice cream at Carmela, coffee at Dinosaur, Thai food at Wat Dong Moon Lek,  Korean BBQ at Eight. I think I ate (and spent) enough for this entire month in California in one day.

There was also a halfhearted attempt at clothes-shopping. Which is to say, I tried to go where the five minutes of where-do-my-favorite-bloggers-most-of-whom-seem-to-live-in-L.A.-now-that-I-think-of-it shop? research directed me (this trip was, as you might gather, spontaneous), but this one boutique that sounded very promising turned out to be... exactly how I now see the Yelp reviewers found it, which is to say, ridiculously expensive and hipster-parody-ish.

-After reading so much about it (the "cool girl" speech especially), I decided the time had come to read Gone Girl. It was a complete page-turner, as in, it was difficult to put it down as I was reading it. It had a lot that held my attention apart from, you know, the suspense. Specifically the parental-overshare angle. The book does suggest that writing fiction about your kid can be as damaging as non-fiction, at least if it's more fictionalization than fiction-fiction. Much of the story ends up hinging on this. Well, that and the "cool girl" thing - Amy Elliott is so chill that she cheerily moves from New York to rural Missouri, where she can't find work, so that she can care for the aging parents of her cheating husband. (There may be thoughts on the intersection of "cool girl" and "monogamish" forthcoming.)

The only thing that bothered me was that Amy makes no sense as coming from New York. She's from a demographic of native New Yorkers that exists in entertainment - I'm thinking especially of "Gossip Girl" - in which Manhattan-ness means being the too-cool-for-school popular girl from an all-American high school. I couldn't figure out where she fit into any actual part of the New York population of the years when she's supposed to have grown up. She's this posh woman with family money, but the money was made from bestselling children's books. Yet that somehow lands Amy into something like a WASP upper-crust ice-queen status, and not, like, Zabars-and-Fairway country.

OK, and one other thing... I wouldn't say bothered me, exactly, but it's something I wondered about. I kind of get why literary fiction is so often about writers. I wish it weren't, but it sort of is what it is. But a mainstream suspense-type novel, does that also have to be about Brooklyn writers' parties, even if it quickly moves elsewhere? 

No comments: