Kathleen Maguire's Reviews > Look at Me

Look at Me by Jennifer Egan
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's review
Feb 28, 2012

really liked it

I read this when it first came out in late 2001, before "friend" became a verb, and I remember really liking it. I grabbed it off my bookshelf recently for the sole reason that I didn't want to read my Kindle in the bath and it was the nearest book to where I was standing at the time. But wow. Reading it now that "friend" HAS become a verb and the entire issue of identity has been complicated, confiscated, and mutilated, this book is eerily prescient.

An ex-model is disfigured in an accident, and reconstructed to look "normal" but nothing like her former self. No one she used to know can recognize her. She needs to make some money and eventually hooks up with a journalist who is doing a story on transformation, which leads to this guy who is building essentially what we know today as a certain ubiquitous small blue square with two initials that both appear in the acronym FUBAR. I think a chill actually ran down my spine when the main character hears the guy's pitch and replies, "You're basically turning people into shopping malls."

Jennifer Egan seems pretty consistent in producing novels that are provocative, intelligent, and multilayered. Highly recommend, along with all her others.

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