Publisher: Lettered Press
Publication Date: June20th
Rating: It was ok
The Skinny: Talented writer but flat main character
In So L.A., Magdalena deals with the recent death of her younger brother while trying to keep her business and marriage thriving. Grief drives Magdalena to make irrational decisions and her relationship is jeopardized by her actions. In an effort to ease the pain caused by her brother’s death, Magdalena’s husband suggests a move to Los Angeles, where life quickly falls apart.
There are numerous amusing scenes and quips in this book, and I loved the voice. It is so personable and raw. The scenes and descriptions that are used in the novel are unique, and I appreciated the newness of how people who are falling apart are characterized. Though I enjoyed these quirky scenes, I was unable to connect to Magdalena, and this lack of a bond led me to feel ambivalent about the story. In addition to the disconnection with Magdalena, I also grew frustrated with the flashbacks about Magdalena’s brother and the events after his death. These chapters, while informative, disrupted the pace of the story.
I will say, though, that Bridget is a good writer. When she describes Magdalena’s grieving process, I was emotionally moved. The thought of her calling a telephone number repeatedly just to hear her brother’s voice is wonderfully powerful and effective in showing the depths of her despair.
I live in Orange County and spend a great deal of time in Los Angeles. My cousin currently works in Hollywood, so I am aware of the backstage happenings in LA. Because the title of the story is So L.A., I was expecting a bit more insight on the culture in Los Angeles. Detailed driving directions are provided and comments are made about the paparazzi, but I did not glean anything unique about Los Angeles. I would have liked an insider’s view of LA and its strange and addictive environment.
Be sure to check out the other tour stops!
Thursday, July 5th: CBS Los Angeles – LA’s Summer Reading Guide
Monday, August 13th: The 3R’s Blog
Wednesday, August 15th: Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, August 16th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Monday, August 20th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, August 22nd: Sweet Southern Home
Thursday, August 23rd: Book Chatter
Monday, August 27th: Reviews by Molly
Tuesday, August 28th: Travel Spot
Wednesday, August 29th: Book Club Classics!
Thursday, August 30th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, September 4th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, September 6th: Bookish Whimsy
Friday, September 7th: In the Next Room
Monday, September 10th: Colloquium
Tuesday, September 11th: Oh! Paper Pages
Wednesday, September 12th: Conceptual Reception
Thursday, September 13th: Seaside Book Nook
Bridget Hoida lives and writes in Southern California. In past lives she was a librarian, a DJ, a high school teacher and a barista. In this life she experiments with poetry and fiction and has taught writing at UC Irvine, the University of Southern California, and Saddleback College. Bridget is the recipient of an Anna Bing Arnold Fellowship and the Edward Moses prize for fiction. She was a finalist in the Joseph Henry Jackson/San Francisco Intersection for the Arts Award for a first novel and the William Faulkner Pirate’s Alley first novel contest. Her short stories have appeared in the Berkeley Fiction Review, Mary, and Faultline Journal, among others, and she was a finalist for the Iowa Review Fiction Prize and in the Glimmer Train New Writer’s Short Story Contest. Her poetry has earned her recognition as an Academy of American Poets Prize finalist and she was a Future Professoriate Scholar at USC. She has a BA from UC Berkeley, MA in fiction from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.
Visit Bridget’s website for more info at Bridgethoida.com.