Going to LA LA land : Book Review

Reading a book about relationships is a tragic tightrope walk between laughter and embarrassment ending with a resolution that leaves you with as many questions as you started with. Throw this theme into the LA small band scene and you have a recipe for gut wrenching relief that your life is much more sane. This is what ‘You Don’t Love Me Yet” by Jonathan Lethem threw me into and caused me to reluctantly finish.

The story is well woven and is full of great quotes and situations as when Lucinda(our lovely and tragic narrator) is talking with her current employer and former lover Falmouth about her current position as a complaint line operator:

“Has it never been explained to you that self-pity undermines sarcasm? Pick one or the other, then stick with it.”

This line may sum up much of the book as Lucinda deals with her up-tenth breakup with her bands front-man Matthew and her shallow/destructive relationship with the Caller. As she leaves Matthew at the start of the book she is strong and sarcastic, but her self-pity is growing and the Caller manages to coerce it out completely. The irony is that as Lucinda undoes her own confidence by giving into the Caller’s seduction she also creates the bands success by appropriating the Caller’s words into lyrics.

Lethem has a good command of language and his ability to describe the unspoken aspect of relationships draws the reader further in as you apply past situations into the plot. This made the book difficult at points but in the end things get wrapped up well and without too much of a let down.

Overall “You Don’t Love Me Yet” is a fun ride through the uber hip and self defecating landscape known as Los Angeles. It makes me happy to live in Phoenix.