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Love or Something Like It: A Novel de…
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Love or Something Like It: A Novel (edició 2009)

de Deirdre Shaw

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768271,938 (3.69)No n'hi ha cap
In Los Angeles a thirtysomething woman is forced to redefine her entire world after her young marriage falters.
Títol:Love or Something Like It: A Novel
Autors:Deirdre Shaw
Informació:Random House (2009), Hardcover, 256 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Love or Something Like It de Deirdre Shaw

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LOVE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT is a classic bildungsroman with a chick-lit twist, whose narrator Lacey Brennan experiences challenges over the course of the novel that cause her to grow and change in a positive way.

Lacey meets Toby at a comedy club in New York. The two fall in love, and Lacey moves to Los Angeles to be with him. Toby is a comedy writer who writes for a popular late-night talk show, so once Lacey arrives in LA she is thrust into the glamorous and cutthroat world of the entertainment industry. Lacey is star-struck, and the early chapters in the book describe her wide-eyed thrill at being invited to parties where celebrities congregate, and her sycophantic friendship with a rock-n-roll couple. At first, Lacey seems superficial and sour while her husband, already immune to the scene, is a more reasonable character.

Then Shaw diverges into backstory. We learn about Lacey's family, the trauma she experienced during and after her parents' divorce, her feelings of abandonment when her mother moved out of state to marry a new man and start a new family. We find out about Lacey's twin, a brother, who coped with their home troubles with wild behavior and ultimately by running away from home. We also find out more about Lacey's romance and marriage to Toby, at which point Toby's imperfections stand out better: he's a man-child, looking for a
surrogate mother as much as a wife, not quite ready to grow up.

Lacey and Toby's marriage falls apart quickly - they divorce about a year after their wedding day. The novel describes the breakdown of the marriage, their couple therapy, Lacey's unhappiness and anger and Toby's disinterest in working to save the marriage. Meanwhile Lacey decides that she wants to work in entertainment now that she's in LA, and she gets a job as a writer's assistant on a TV show. It's a menial position, badly paid, and Lacey is constantly heckled and mistreated by the writers on the show, all of whom Lacy describes as nasty, competitive goof-offs. The showrunner, R.J, is the biggest jerk of the bunch and Lacey knows it - nonetheless, she eventually gets involved in an affair with him, finds herself pregnant, and has an abortion.

There's more therapy as Lacey recovers from her divorce and tries to make progress professionally. Finally, she decides that her life in LA is stagnant and that she wants to move back to New York. Before she can do that, however, she calls her entire family out to visit her in California so that she can confront her parents about how their divorce, and the misdeeds that caused and resulted from it (her father had an affair that precipitated the divorce; her mother moved away afterwards) have caused her lasting psychological damage. Her parents finally apologize, which makes Lacey feel better, and during her last weeks in Los Angeles she finds that she's finally living "in the moment" as she never could before, knowing that she can't focus on a
future in Los Angeles since she'll be leaving soon. Her new attitude allows her to find what she's been looking for all along: an agent eager to sell the screenplay she's been writing, and a new man, the host of an adventure TV show named Ben. As the clock ticks down to her departure from LA, Lacey finally realizes that she needs to stay in LA and commit to screenwriting and to Ben.

I found Lacey difficult to like. The first half of the novel describes how pathetically star-struck Lacey is, and then her divorce from Toby showcases her bitter, resentful side. Her flashbacks to her childhood give her character added depth, but don't make her any more likable - they focus on her anger at her parents during her divorce, and her constant manipulation of their guilt. During the latter half of the novel, when Lacey's working on making positive changes in her character, her affair with RJ and her constant discussion of therapy
sessions kept my enthusiasm low. And I finally doubted that she had made any real progress when, at the climax of the novel, she orders her parents to fly out to LA and apologize for their bad behavior then, immediately thereafter, makes the same mistake that starts the novel: she decides to stay in LA to be with a guy she's just met and abandons her plan to move back to New York.

But readers may be drawn to Lacey's outsider/insider view of Los Angeles, her snide descriptions of what it's like to attend star-studded parties, and her depiction of LA's dark side, of what it's like to be in a city that doesn't care who you are or where you're from as long as you're going somewhere good. Her disillusion
about marriage and her search for the right guy may appeal to disillusioned women who gravitate to thoughtful musings such as "deep down I knew there was something to it, to married life, something pure
and whole, something rich and simple at the same time, like a good carrot soup." It's obvious and a little patronizing, but the writing is above average. ( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
A writer grapples with the dissolution of her marriage. A nice evocation of the glamor of Los Angeles. Refreshing, biting voice. ( )
  checkadawson | Dec 31, 2009 |
Love or Something Like It, Deirdre Shaw’s debut novel, follows Lacey Brennan out to Los Angeles as she leaves New York and moves in with her new husband Toby, a T.V. writer. In the glitzy world of L.A., the parties are extravagant, friendships are fickle, competition for glamorous jobs in the movie and TV industry is fierce, and everyone is fueled by optimistic dreams:
"Everyone who came to L.A. believed in the possibility, perhaps even the inevitability, of their own success. They would get the audition, write the script, pitch the idea that would send them shooting to the top. We had all just turned thirty. No one entertained the concept of becoming a failed artist. This was not part of the dream."

Shaw has close personal experience with the complicated world of L.A., and her honest, nuanced portrayal of the city—nicely told via Lacey’s unguarded and raw voice—is far from the stereotypical view we’ve come to expect. What begins as an exciting adventure quickly turns sour when Lacey finds herself in a dead-end job with a failing marriage:
"I could grow old here never having reached my dreams, not even one, without ever knowing any sense of success; I could die out here or disappear here, sink into drink and despair here, and no one would notice."

Love or Something Like It reveals both the ups and the downs of this City of Dreams with wit and sensitivity. At times, this novel’s chapters read like independent short stories rather than parts of a cohesive whole. This minor complaint is easily overcome by Shaw’s accomplished writing and her clear empathy for her characters. By the end, you’ll feel like Lacey is one of your friends, and you’ll be proud of what she’s accomplished over the course of these 250 pages.

This review also appears on my blog Literary License. ( )
  gwendolyndawson | Aug 31, 2009 |
I'm normally not a fan of coming-of-age stories but I quickly fell into Lacey's story and quite enjoyed it. The story was filled with interesting characters but for a while I was afraid it was going to be a story about the stereotypical world of Hollywood. Lacey's back story kept the book grounded and along with wondering what happened to Sam it kept my attention. It is always nice to see growth in a character and I think that was well portrayed in Lacey, especially by the end of the book when she opted to stay in California and give herself a chance with Ben. Even though it's been a lot of years since my bad luck love affairs I could still very much relate to Lacey's feelings and insecurities. ( )
  texanne | Aug 2, 2009 |
Still debating on how much I liked this book. Lacey was immature and self-absorbed, but also not confident at all, so it became hard to dislike her. Very honest, fluid and heartfelt. While it didn't leave me with super warm feelings of happiness, at least it was honest. ( )
  traciragas | May 17, 2009 |
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In Los Angeles a thirtysomething woman is forced to redefine her entire world after her young marriage falters.

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