Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Just Jennifer

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

Subtitled “Or Everything I Needed to Know about Life I Learned from Watching ‘80s Movies” this coming of age memoir will resonate with anyone who grew up in the 80s; beyond being Diamond’s story of growing up  it is this writer’s recounting of his attempts to pen a biography of John Hughes, an undertaking that kept coming back to his own love affair with this movies, movies that he turned to time and time again as Diamond struggled with depression, lack of self-esteem and self-doubt  growing up in a Chicago suburb as a Jewish minority.  The results are interesting and in all likelihood, far more relatable and accessible than a biography of the iconic movie director would have been.  Events in Diamond’s life such as his first girlfriend or moving to New York City are framed within which John Hughes movie he chose to watch at that time.  From the first time Diamond saw Pretty in Pink, though the title was at first off-putting to him, he was hooked.  As he worked his way through Hughes’s oeuvre of teenage angst, Diamond began to draw parallels to his own life and eventually, his life began to take focus and shape.  This non-traditional memoir will be a welcomed trip down memory lane to readers of a certain age. 

Just Jennifer

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

The boundaries between reality and the supernatural are pushed in this original debut novel in which “bodies” at the Elysian Society take a proprietary pill know as a lotus which allows them to slip out of their body which becomes a repository for the client’s deceased loved one for a short time.  Eurydice, Edie, has worked as a body for over five years and has disassociated herself not only from her job but from her life as well.  When Patrick Braddock comes to the society to reconnect with his wife Sylvia who drowned in a tragic accident several months before, Edie finds herself becoming obsessed with Patrick and Sylvia and the more she learns about them the more immersed she becomes in their lives---and Sylvia’s death.  Edie begins to see cracks in the Braddock’s marriage and she becomes more invested with Sylvia and she begins to wonder about her death, but the more time she spends with them, the more she wants Patrick; uncertain whether Patrick is interested in Edie as Edie or as Sylvia, she begins to rearrange her life so she can continue channeling Sylvia and be with Patrick, all the while the circumstances of Sylvia’s death niggling in the background.  The further into the Braddock’s lives she delves, the more at risk Edie becomes of losing herself forever, which is sometimes a very appealing thought to the young woman who harbors her own secrets and sadness.  There are so many facets to this unique novel that it is hard to know where to look next.