Thursday, September 14, 2006

Book Review: Bright Lights, Big City

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

Did you ever pick up and begin reading a book, only to discover you've read it before? Only a couple of months before? I completely forgot that I had read this book. It's a short book, a quick read--in fact I finished it on a two-day business trip. The fact that I didn't even remember is hardly a good thing.

The book employs the gimmicky second-person perspective. Strike one. Maybe if the book had been everything it had pledged to be, it would have been a good idea. But the book turns out to be vapid. Oh, it's got its humor (I laughed at the ferret scene), and it skewers New York magazine publishing, and I imagine that some folks liked the books for those things.

To my disappointment the book never seems to make a statement about drug use or the nightclub scene. We see the central character fall as a result of the lifestyle, but ambivalence remains. I don't expect preachy morals, but I expect revelations (yes, epiphanies). Give me a moment of grace. Please.

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