Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Getting Over Jack Wagner by Elisa Juska

I really wanted to like this book. I thought it sounded funny and cute and like something to which I could relate. Girl falls for rock stars, over and over again. Been there, done that. I spent the bulk of my teenage years waiting for Jon Bon Jovi to ride up on his motorcycle and take me away. (Funny, how I write that in a way that makes it sound like I’m not waiting for Jon Bon Jovi anymore ;)

I had thought this would be a book about people like those I know who fall for boys in bands. But the difference is, the girls I know fall for those guys in bands because they know that they aren’t at all what they appear to be on stage. They love the way they turn into hot sexy rockers on stage and then step off the stage and become the nice, sweet guys they’ve always known them to be. I think of my friends who spend their days working in offices and then head out to Deep Ellum later to watch their boyfriend – who also probably spends his days working in an office -- play guitar. That’s the what differentiates girls who actually dates rock stars from the groupies.

But once I started reading this book I realized that Eliza wasn’t so much in love with rock stars as she was in love with herself and some absurd image that she had of what a rock star was supposed to be like. Eliza, though she tried to deny it, was nothing more than a groupie.

Turns out this book isn’t really about a girl loving rock stars. Rather, it is a book about a child trapped in her past, longing for her father. The book implies that the only thing she remembered about the father that walked out on her was that he liked jazz music and I guess she made the connection that he was some sort of rock star. I say “implies’ because, well, it pretty much spells it out that she was wanting the rock star to be her father. The direct explanation was necessary because the connection never made much sense.

This book dwells on Eliza’s past, music boy after boy after boy. I found myself just skimming through theses sections because they were boring and tedious. It was the same story over and over again. She meets a talented guy, thinks he’s great, hooks up, changes her life for him, and then once she realizes he’s normal – stupid things like, he has a caring mother, he has a neat apartment, etc. – she runs and then acts like he’s committed some sort of atrocious crime by being normal.

The main character seemed so childish and silly. Which was maybe the point, mentally she never moved past being a ten-year-old who’s father walked out on her. She was in her late twenties and still trying to dress like a “rock chic.”

If this character really wanted to overcome her problems, maybe, rather than wasting all her energy pursuing and fucking musicians, she should have started searching for the man who abandoned her as a child. It may not have been an overall great experience, but maybe she would have at least arrived at some sort of closure in her life.

I didn’t find this book to be especially funny or clever. I really wasn’t even amused by all the 80s references. Rather than seem humorous, it just seemed very sad and pathetic. It was just another example of being unable to move forward in life.

My recommendation: Stay away from this book. It’s a waste of time. It’s boring and only barely makes sense.

Read: July 3, 2005

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