(More and Less) Likable Lad Lit

At long last, I’ve returned from our saga-length holiday sojourn. (But I’m still ramping up! So don’t expect much! She says defensively!)

Among my Chanukah spoils was the new Kindle (thanks, Mom!), which I sorely needed, as my first had been tossed in the giveaway heap. Turns out our  location in North Berkles is the deadest of dead zones for any kind of cell phonish network, so downloading anything at all, even a free sample, was an hours-long proposition.

I gave up.

Now I’m back on board with WiFi and in danger of bankruptcy via Kindle, so I have a resolution: For every 3 paid downloads, I’ll try a free classic. I’m thinking of starting with Dickens. I’ve read David Copperfield and Nicholas Nickleby. What’s next—Bleak House or Martin Chuzzlewit? Or maybe Tale of Two Cities? Great Expectations? Those last two are tainted by botched middle school attempts, but that’s probably reason enough to revisit.

For whatever reason—I blame vacation indolence—my first three downloads fell into the Lad Lit category. I started with Nick Hornby and Juliet, Naked, which delivered the typical Nick Hornby experience: skepticism, glimmer of hope, flicker of interest, lack of fulfillment, annoyance. Why do I always fall for the promise of what he never delivers? From there I searched my own wishlist and, upon finding Jonathan Tropper compared favorably to  Hornby, bought This Is Where I Leave You.

It’s smart, funny, emotionally present, and pretty much a start-to-finish joyride, enough so that I forgave the plot’s ultimate descent into bonkersville and immediately downloaded another of his, How To Talk to a Widower. Which is in many ways the exact same book, although no less enjoyable for it.

At first I wondered why Tropper was grouped with Lad Lit, but after a second helping it could not have been more clear: sex, sex, sex, and fights, fights, fights. (Who lives in that world? Lads?) Also, we have the shiftless but mostly socially progressive boy-man hero who apologizes for his laddish ways while not actually doing much to overcome them (until, of course of course, le fin).  Whatever. It’s fun.

Although I need a break for a while. Dickens?

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