“Turns out Jen Lancaster, who was already a master of memoir, is a genius at fiction.”—Beth Harbison, New York Times Bestselling Author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous“Jen Lancaster has the kind of scathing wit that makes you wish she … see full wiki
Perhaps the fact that I have big hair and have finally learned to appreciate it allows me to read Jen Lancaster's "Here I Go Again" (a nod to glam rock band Whitesnake in its pop chart heyday) with my critical third eye shut. Having never read Lancaster before, it took all of two pages to realize that she writes as a representative of her era, comically bewailing the extra pounds of encroaching middle age, bemoaning the "evolution" of music from 80/90s hair metal to Seattle grunge and other forms of alternative and waxing poetic on the shades of pink worn with leggy panache in "Legally Blonde." In short, she's realizing that time waits for no man and the pitfalls of being human do indeed buzz kill most of the things you imagined were iconic and would never change. "Here I Go Again" is quick reading--the feel of which is reminiscent of a high school reunion's "remember this or remember when" syndrome where a generation realizes that its references are known only to them and not the larger public and requires a concerted effort to keep them alive.
With all that in mind, "Here I Go Again" updates the "Back to the Future"/"Peggy Sue Got Married" theme for the new generation about to hit 50. Lissy Ryder, the quintessential high school put-down queen, reflects on the disaster and mediocrity of her life as she moves into middle age. Her husband wants a divorce, her rear end rivals the size of one of Jupiter's moons and her career lingers in the "internship" category instead of skyrocketing to the apex of celebrity she anticipates in her daydreams. What's a girl to do? What else? Go back in time and fix it all. And why not? New Age Reiki master and fellow classmate Debbie, reborn "Deva" has just the thing--a magical Incan elixir that she mixes up herself in Machu Picchu that will turn back those merciless hands of time.
You get the picture and you already can figure out the ending. While the journey and its destination are no "Magical Mystical Tour," the references to the early 90s, especially her Tiger Beat knowledge of Glam Metal rock stars is really fun. And being an unabashed fan of David Coverdale despite his former guitarists' allegations regarding his "his way or the highway" philosophy, I did enjoy this romp through Memory Lane once I got passed the inevitability of the storyline.
Lancaster drops more celebrity names per page than Jacqueline Susann, but doesn't have Susann's flare for sudsy drama. Remakes will be made of Susann's works to update the characters and the times, whereas "Here I Go Again" is a remake of classics like "Peggy Sue" and "Back to the Future." But, all's well that ends well. Lissy comes of age, learns her lesson, and slays all her development-depleting dragons. Your 80s/90s heart will revel while you read it, but afterwards this title will be shelved in the Library of Forgotten Books.
Bottom line? If you grew up in the late 80s/early 90s and want to reorchestrate your memories to coincide with some great hair metal, "Here I Go Again" just might be the book for you. Keep in mind that author Jen Lancaster's plot is fairly predictable and seems inevitable for the small screen with the advent of 80s nostalgia shows like "The Carrie Diaries" now in vogue. Recommended for those with the right mindset and aren't expecting a great literary treasure. Diana Faillace Von Behren "reneofc"