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Sunday, June 30, 2013

"The Wonder Bread Summer" by Jessica Anya Blau


It's 1983 in Berkeley, California. Twenty-year-old Allie Dodgson is a straitlaced college student working part-time at a dress shop to make ends meet. But when the shop turns out to be a front for a dangerous drug-dealing business, Allie finds herself on the lam, speeding toward Los Angeles in her best friend's Prelude with a Wonder Bread bag full of cocaine riding shotgun and a hit man named Vice Versa on her tail. You can't find a more thrilling summer read!


Published by:  Harper Perennial
Pages:  260
Genre:  Fiction
Author:  Jessica Anya Blau
Website:  http://www.jessicaanyablau.com


Partial bio. of Ms Blau....Please click on her site above for a more comprehensive one!

Jessica Anya Blau's second novel, DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME, has just been released to rave reviews. Novelist Irina Reyn calls it, "Unrelentingly, sidesplittingly funny." The Austin Chronicle says that, "The domestic relationships in the book are brilliantly rendered, a contemporary California version of Philip Roth." Author Dylan Landis says the book is, "So raw and funny I wanted to read parts aloud to strangers."

Jessica'a first novel, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES, was chosen as a Top Ten Summer Read by the Today Show, The New York Post and New York Magazine. Cosmo called it a "Sexy Summer Read!" The San Francisco Chronicle and the Rocky Mountain News chose THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES as a Best Book of the Year!

Here is Jessica's Biography With Dogs:  (The rest of this bio. can be found on her site!)

Jessica was born in Boston. Her father was a graduate student and her mother was staying home with Jessica...


This is one of those books highly touted by publishers and sent on the rounds to authors and bookshops that the average reader will find strange and weird, I think.  I have three words for it:
No, no and no.  It just wasn't my cup of tea.

I think Ms Anya Blau tries too hard to be hip and raunchy in this novel.  It falls short in my humble opinion and just comes up being contrived and grungy.  There's a light story filled with juvenile descriptions of gross men wanting to masturbate to young girls' exposed breasts, travels with a Wonder Bread bag full of cocaine and silly plastic behaving druggies on the hunt for it.  I found it a contrived and fluffy book.  Just me, perhaps.

There are some interesting parts to the book:  Chinese proverbs splattered about, and 1980's mentions of music and décor.  But these can't keep an otherwise drowning book afloat.

Here's a typical excerpt.  You be the judge:

"OH MY GOD, LOOK WHO'S HERE!"  Penny screamed.  She rushed to Allie as if they were sorority sisters meeting up at a mixer.

Allie untangled her mother's arms from around her neck.  Penny grabbed at the bread bag and tried to tug it out of her daughter's hand.

Allie immediately regretted her decision to stay at the Biltmore.  "Leave it alone," she snapped, and she pulled back so quickly that Penny stumbled.

"It's my China Blackie bird!" Billy Idol got up from his stool, came over to Allie, and led her away from Penny.

"That's my SISTER!"  Penny caught up the them, then flopped her belly onto a barstool, bottom out.  She wobbled around the stool like a nine-year-old.  Allie was only slightly embarrassed.  These were rock stars, they were used to idiotic behavior.

"It's your daughter, you bleedin' sot!"  Billy Idol said, and everyone, including Allie, laughed.

"Hey," Allie said, and she sort of leaned into Billy's chest the way a cat might if it wanted to be scratched.

"How you doing, China?"  Billy pulled up a stool and patted it so Allie would sit.

"She's got coke!"  Penny yelled.  She popped off the stool and stumbled into Billy Idol and Allie, throwing one arm across each of their shoulders.

"Mom, you need coffee or something,"  Allie said.

"I need more of that COKE!"

"Shhh!"  Allie said.  "It's too much for you, Mom."

Billie Idol leaned in close to Penny and quietly said, "Last I heard it's illegal in America, so you best keep quiet about it.  Now why don't you be a good bird and go sit on my mate's lap and let him order you a café or something?"

Allie wondered if she'd ever stop swooning over his accent, which made her feel like a melting popsicle:  sticky, watery, going down.

Penny snatched at the bread bag with two hands.  Billy Idol detached Penny's hands, then threw her over his shoulder like a bag of grain.  "Nigel, you got this one, mate?"

"Hear, hear,"  Nigel said, and he patted his skinny, snake-skin-bound thighs.

So, that's just your typical section of the book, friends....

While I've seen that other bloggers recommend this book for summer reading, I simply can't.  I did skim to the end.




I had high hopes for this book so I'm bummed to see you didn't enjoy it.

Share your thoughts!

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