Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thoughts on Back in Black, An A-List novel, by Zoey Dean. Produced by Alloy Entertainment.
If you removed the words that refer to specific brands of dresses, magazine titles, movie stars, or tech accessories, the book would be a third its actual length. I think the beginning of the book was so focused on catching the reader up to the events of the series that the plot didn't begin until half-way through.
The book reads in stops and starts. The description is keen and accurate. The scenes of the shiny rich are apt, and the descriptions of the "toys" like limos, private jets, PDAS, etc. are detailed. Even the descriptions of teenage emotions feel accurate. But the scenes don't really move into each other well. It reads like a TV script.
Still...if you can strip away the labels and the rhinestones, there are bits of truth here. The characters feel real to me, catty or athletic or obliviously rich or broke-but-won't-admit-it or scared. The layers in relationships between friends, the love, hate, love, hate between just two people, then six people, are so familiar to me - I remember this from high school, I remember hating it, and I still feel uncomfortable reading it. How you hate your friends even as you love them. How you overanalyze everything. How social stratification always occurs, even though it isn't always by wealth.
No matter who sponsors it, adolescence hurts.
And if books like this are the result of corporate intrusion into the book publishing industry? I don't really mind. It's all in the open. The free market provides. For more literary or discerning tastes, small presses will always exists. There will always be the blogs and pamphlets and zines and English PhDs to ensure the production and dissemination of all kinds of texts to all kinds of readers.
I'm kinda surprised how pleased I am by this book. I may need to read another.