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Lola Bensky

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  571 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Lola Bensky is a nineteen-year-old rock journalist who irons her hair straight and asks a lot of questions. A high-school dropout, she's not sure how she got this job - but she's been sent by her Australian newspaper right to the heart of the London music scene a the most exciting time in music history: 1967.
Drawing on her own experience as a young journalist, the bestsel
Paperback, 1st, 267 pages
Published September 2012 by Hamish Hamilton (first published January 1st 2012)
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Miles Franklin Longlist 2013
6th out of 10 books — 6 voters
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38th out of 172 books — 30 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,340)
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Jan 30, 2013 Holly rated it it was ok
As a brunette, fringed 19-year-old music fanatic, I presumed this book would tick all of my boxes. Sadly, I was quite wrong. I hate to write negative reviews (esp of Australian authors) but I have to be honest and say that I really don't like Brett's writing. Not one bit. This novel is about a young woman interviewing some of the world's biggest and best musicians at the height/beginning of their fame. Sounds great, but her voice comes across as clunky, detached and basic and I struggled to conn ...more
Il gioco di rimandi è intenso fin dalla copertina: l’autrice ha nome e cognome brevi e con le stesse iniziali del personaggio che intitola il romanzo, tanto che si tende a confonderle.
Il percorso esistenziale della protagonista Lola è molto simile a quello della scrittrice Lily: entrambe figlie di ebrei sopravvissuti ad Auschwitz, entrambe nate in Germania in un campo profughi subito dopo la fine della guerra, entrambe trasferite in Australia in te
May 27, 2013 Nicki rated it it was ok
This started off well. Initially I quite enjoyed it. The interviews with the celebrities were interesting and I figured since Lily was herself a journalist, maybe they were based on real ones. Having read some of the other reviews for this, it seems that this is not the case and they are fictional. I am a little too young to know most of them, but had of course heard of the majority. I enjoyed what I thought was an insight into them.
The main problem I had was that we don't really get to know Lol
Nov 14, 2012 Librariasaurus rated it it was ok
I only gave this book 2 stars because its written about an era and a community of musicians that I adore. The writing itself is fairly good but the character of Lola Bensky is dull, indecisive, annoying,self-loathing, green, unintelligent, unconfident, unconvincing, ignorant and woeful.
I feel that Lily Brett has tried to re-imagine something along the lines of Kerouac's On The Road, from a meek Australian female perspective, and failed miserably.
Throw in some graphic depictions of world war two
Mar 03, 2013 Komala rated it did not like it
I'm disappointed to say that I have nothing good to say about this book. Why would anyone want to read a book about a woman who, rather than talk about her incredibly interesting career; or her travels; or the amazing people that she has interviewed and hung out with, chooses instead to write about how fat her thighs are? Lola doesn't seem to have any passion for music, or anything really. It's almost as if she just stumbled into the music industry. Her mother is so hateful that I didn't even ha ...more
Melinda Elizabeth
Oct 29, 2012 Melinda Elizabeth rated it it was ok
I can't say I enjoyed this very much. A made up journo having made up conversations with famous rock stars hold tick all the boxes, but all Lola does is obsess over false eyelashes, WWII atrocities and diets. The middle of the book inexplicably zoomed far into the future for no discernible reason, then again bafflingly back to the 60's for some of the conclusion. Reading this book in Lola's narrative is like a monotonous, muffled ongoing noise that you can't quite figure out.
Amanda Apthorpe
Nov 14, 2012 Amanda Apthorpe rated it it was amazing
While it took me a little while to adapt to Lily Brett's writing style, ultimately I was fully engaged with the character of Lola Bensky. A little more than 'based' on her own experience as a rock journalist in the 1960s, Brett imbues Lola with wonderful warmth, humour and her self-effacing attitude is very endearing. Of course, the entree into the personal world of the 60s Rock Greats adds to the interest of this novel, but more than that, it is Lola's inner turmoil as she tries to come to grip ...more
Steve lovell
Nov 11, 2012 Steve lovell rated it really liked it
Whatever became of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich?
They had been long gone from my grey matter until Lily Brett’s book bought back a memory of forty plus years ago. For a nano-second, despite their ridiculous appellation based on the member’s nicknames, they were the hottest band on the planet with monster hits such as ‘The Legend of Xanadu’ and ‘Bend It’ – the latter being banned in the Bible Belt for its saucy lyrics. In my formative years of musical appreciation I’d purchased these two s
Esther Rivers
Mar 14, 2013 Esther Rivers rated it did not like it
For someone who claims to have music journalism experience, they might have wanted to do a little more research into the life and times of 'swingin' London' in the 60s. The depictions of these characters feel like Brett researched them once or twice on Wikipedia-for anyone with the slightest bit of musical knowledge or love of rock 'n' roll, this story is insulting. Does the author really think this is believable? Is the target audience young teenagers? Does every move that Lola (a most narcissi ...more
Sep 14, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing
Lola Bensky is probably one of the more surprising novels I’ve read in a long time. Lily Brett, who is quite famous in her native Australia, has certainly won a new fan in this here blogger. What at first glance would seem to be simple little tale about a girl interviewing all the famous rockstars of the 1960s and 1970s, turned out to be an unexpectedly poignant exploration of a generation from a completely unique point of view.
See my full review here:
Jan 06, 2014 Rhianna rated it did not like it
What an absolute disappointment of a book I was so looking forward to reading! I felt there was no real point to the book, nothing exciting or dramatic happened to Lola that encouraged me to read on. The character of Lola was one which I could not connect with, possibly due to the fact that I am neither Jewish nor overweight. Frequently the book bored me as I was met with repetition that seemed to drag on. The endless list of celebrities Lola interviews each come with their own description into ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Cate rated it really liked it
I quite loved this. I tell you, know just know when you are in the hands of a truly clever, talented writer. This is intelligent, swirling, beautifully constructed writing and just like when you watch, I don't know, an athlete execute the perfect play and they make it look easy ... well this is the written equivalent. Lola Bensky is a great character. The back-blurb is a little misleading, I was expecting a comedic romp thru hip London, New York & LA circa 1967 but there's more to this than ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Cassie rated it it was ok
This is a quick, light and easy read but I do have some qualms.

Admittedly, what first attracted me to this book was the cover (we all judge a book by its cover every now and then). It shows a twenty-something girl with thick, long eyelashes and has that “retro” 50s, 60s look. I love fashion and style from that time and I had to pick this book up because of that. Then I read the description. It had lots of familiar names: Jimi Hendrix, Mama Cass, Monterey Pop Festival. As a music lover, especial
Jun 17, 2013 Jillwilson rated it liked it
When Lilly Brett was quite young, she got a job with Go-Set, which was the first Australian rock/pop newspaper. Go-Set came out of a group who worked at Monash Uni on Lot’s Wife. While Lily had no formal training as a journalist she was given quite a lot of opportunities, including going to Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, just as her fictional character, Lola Bensky does. At the time, she says that an experienced journo gave her some advice: “Always start with a good line.”

This novel opens with “
As I read this book I went through periods where it had me, then it dragged for a while, then it got me again and finally it petered out.

Interesting storyline of a young Australian journalist interviewing the famous rock stars of the 70s just as their careers were taking off. In all her interviews, Lola Bensky seemed to be taking more of her weight problems and her parents experiences at Auschwitz than getting material for her magazine.

Lola has self doubts, she is fat, she grapples with understa
Nov 02, 2012 Christine rated it it was ok

Too much calling on the same character types, issues and preoccupations that threaded through previous novels. I am beginning to feel that most of Brett's books are just another perspective on her own life story. The 'new' bits do not really add anything profound to the narrative. The reference to the detective agency almost seemed to be lifted from Alexander McCall's stories...oddly enough that was the most entertaining part of the book.
Maree Kimberley
Aug 31, 2014 Maree Kimberley rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2014
I'm a fan of Lily Brett's writing and for me, Lola Bensky didn't disappoint. The novel returns to Brett's familiar themes of dealing with the impact of growing up as a child of Holocaust survivors but, through the eyes of Lola, approaches them in a new way.

At times the writing in Lola Bensky flows along with a light, feel-good touch. Then bam, the impact of her parent's ever-present dead family members intrude. This is where the real power of Brett's writing lies: the juxtaposition of the ordina
May 07, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it
I really enjoy Lily Brett's books! They are funny!They are introspective in a highly self deprecating way. You have to read 'You Gotta Have Balls' and this book to really see Lily Brett. Her feelings of insignificance makes her write significant heros. Her Dad characters are side splitting and so very vivid. When I'm in New York I want to bump into her and just wink at her with my diamanté fake eyelashes.
Lily Golightly
Aug 01, 2014 Lily Golightly rated it it was ok
I thought this book would be great, I had heard great things and the general blurb sounding really interesting, especially as someone who loves the classic rock era. However, the character of Lola was immensely frustrating, complaining often about her weight, her parents etc. I enjoyed the interviews with rock stars but even those seemed to be a bit of a superficial glance at these important figures and quite cliche rather than gripping or interesting revelations. I also did not appreciating her ...more
Jun 11, 2013 Nicola rated it liked it
I couldn't work out how Lola managed to apparently do such a great job as a journalist/writer/wife etc when she seemed to know nothing about anything and obsess about everything! I came away not being able to decide whether I had enjoyed it or not.
Lisa Hajek
Jul 28, 2015 Lisa Hajek rated it liked it
This one was a mixed bag for me. It started out promising - I initially enjoyed the celebrity interviews and I was intrigued by the character of Lola. However the story soon became quite disjointed, skipping decades back and forth for no good reason that I could see. Lola's character remains quite one dimensional throughout, and has so little emotion that it's hard to feel anything for her in return. The author seemed to be trying to create suspense by inserting snippets of Lola's parents histor ...more
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Apr 14, 2015 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pauvre Lola.

Lola Bensky is the only child of two Holocaust survivors, navigating the murky waters of rock journalism as a young woman in the 1960s. This makes for a compelling and slightly odd narrative which I actually found to be very enjoyable.

My only complaint with the novel is that the dialogue is sometimes too stiff and stilted, making it a little unnatural to be believable. Some of the musicians Lola interviews speak in the same formal one and manner as she does which didn't really make
Jun 11, 2015 Rebecca rated it liked it
I picked up this book because of a review that mentioned it pulling from Bensky's experience as a rock reporter in the 1960s. It is somewhat biographical, but by publishing as a novel, it allows Brett to write about real people (Mick Jager, Jimi Hendrix, Janis, etc) without having to have a fact checker.

But this book is not really about Lola/Brett's experience as a writer for a rock magazine. Rather, that is the setting for her coming of age as the child of the survivors of Nazi concentration ca
Mar 18, 2014 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lola Bensky is 19 when we begin to follow her journey. Dropped out of school she gets herself a job as a writer for an Australian magazine. The story is set in the 1960′s and Lola travels to London, New York, Monterey and LA to interview all our rockstar idols of that time. This allows us to have first hand insights into this world. With lots of funny, stunning and sometimes shocking anecdotes she spices up her drawing of a hole generation. While Cher borrows her fake diamond eyelashes, Twiggy t ...more
Jan 01, 2013 Justine rated it liked it
I think I would actually give this 3.5 stars, but there's no option for that. I can't really work out how I feel about this book. I guess I think that there was so much more that could have been explored regarding Lola's late teens/twenties (which the majority of the book focused on), and that the chapters that were based in her forties and sixties didn't mean that much to me. Skipping twenty, or forty years ahead allows you to see how the character turns out, but there also wasn't a lot detaili ...more
Bree T
Oct 14, 2012 Bree T rated it liked it
Lola Bensky has what many would consider a dream job. She’s just 19 years old and she travels through London and America interviewing up and coming rock stars for an Australian publication. It’s the rise of rock n roll and Lola has been chasing down the likes of Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Cher and Mama Cass, talking to them about their music, their lives and their dreams. Mick Jagger makes her a cup of tea and debates word meanings with her, Jimi Hendrix possibly propositions her a ...more
Nov 29, 2013 Brenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Lola Bensky to Jimi Hendrix: “I think I’m organised because my parents’ lives were so disordered, disarranged and deranged. . . . In the death camps, the rules changed from minute to minute. Everything was unpredictable. My mother said you never knew what to expect.”

Lola Bensky interviews celebrities (Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Sonny, Cher, Twiggy, Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin,and others) by hooking them with revelations from her own family history.

There are moments when Lily B
This Charming Mum
Oct 14, 2012 This Charming Mum rated it it was amazing
It’s 1967. London is swinging and California is dreaming as some of history’s most formidable music artists take to the world stage. Overweight high-school drop-out Lola Bensky has every 19 year old’s dream job as a journalist for Rock-Out magazine. She leaves her anxious Jewish immigrant parents in Melbourne and heads overseas to chat with the likes of Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison and Cher. As she quizzes them about their lives, she develops a deeper understanding of her own unique upbringing as t ...more
To think that I might never have picked up this book if I hadn’t received a preview copy from the publisher – what a loss that would have been! Lola Bensky is, as Lola herself may have said, a “smashing” book. Insightful, thought provoking and deeply moving, told in Lola’s fresh and innocent voice, it is one of the most original books I have read all year.

Lola Bensky is a young journalist in the 1960’s, travelling the world and interviewing young up-and-coming rock stars for an Australian music
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