106. MY NEW AMERICAN LIFE, BY FRANCINE PROSE
Recommended to me by my two-year-old niece. She hasn’t read it, she still doesn’t know how to read, but she said the lady in the cover was pretty and I should read it because of that. Yeah, she still has to learn not to judge a book by its cover... Though, in this case, she wasn’t completely wrong.
Synopsis: Lula, an Albanian immigrant, works as something like a nanny to a 19-year-old boy in a suburban house. Her boss tries very hard to keep everything together, even after his wife left him on Christmas eve; he’s the kind of person who always wants to do what’s right and proper. Lula’s life working for this family descends very easily into a stifling routine, which is shaken when three strange Albanian men ask her to hide a gun for them.
Overall enjoyment: It was a bit satirical, light, and entertaining. The characters are vivid and interesting, and they manage to hold a somewhat weak plot. A nice read for a lazy day.
Plot: There are some holes, some things that are too convenient or that happen at too convenient times, but overall, it works.
Characters: Lula is delightful. She is very realistic in her ennui and yearning for something different, while being afraid of losing what she has. The other characters work very well alongside of her.
World/setting: Lula rarely leaves a very restricted segment of the suburbia. In fact, she rarely leaves the house at all. She feels oppressed by it, wanting to escape, but she also somewhat sees it as home.
Writing style: Light, quick and funny.
Representation: Lula is an Albanian immigrant, and she also serves as a nice portrait to immigrants in general. She’s not overly romanticized nor stereotyped, just a person doing her best with what she has.
Political correctness: There are some instances of slut-shaming, over-awareness of body images, some light homophobia. Those are all the views of the characters, though, hardly sustained by the book itself.
Up next: Mayhem, by Sarah Pinborough