Jenny Organa's Reviews > America The Beautiful

America The Beautiful by Moon Unit Zappa
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's review
Apr 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2008, pop-culture, music
Recommended for: francesca lia block fans
Read in March, 2008

strangely enough, i found this book in a locked cabinet in the 8th grade classroom i was working in at the time. only one copy, dusty, amongst math games, old english textbooks and dices. forgotten. i'm guessing left behind by a former english teacher. it excited me, partly because of the author, partly because of the pretty cover and partly because it had lyrics quotes before every chapter, lyrics quotes of songs i like. i assumed no one would miss it so i took it home. (i later returned it to the librarian at the school, who figured no one would lend it anyway, so i gave it to one of my best students in the hopes of her reading it. i don't know if she did.)

it is a beautifully written novel. the language and descriptions are similar to those of Francesca Lia Block, possibly because of the common denominators, the beautiful scenery of los angeles and hurting women. the roses in the garden, the weather, the hills, the clothes, her car. it all sounds so fantastic and the images in my head are like those of eden. magical and sparkly. like Francesca Lia Blocks stories, there is also that social realism hiding beneath the surface. what really happened to the protagonist when she grew up? what is it that we are not being told?

it's been a few years since i read it so i only have the images in my head and my memories to go on, but i remember thinking that it felt real, despite the glitter and beauty. the characters felt real, their feelings felt real.

i distinctly remember the descriptions of her car for some reason. and the reference to music. there was a lot of reference to music, you could tell moon unit grew up with it. other than that, i know shit about the zappas - father or daughter - but i don't have to. i didn't read this novel as semi-autobiographical. this novel stands on its own, it works.
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