Jane Hammons's Reviews > Lola, California

Lola, California by Edie Meidav
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's review
Jul 05, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, women-writers

Lana (a Lola with many names and identities) meets up with Rose (another Lola--her best friend from adolescence in Berkeley) at a strange kind of Burning Man spa off I-5, which is also not so far from where Lana's father Vic Mahler sits in prison awaiting his death sentence. If you've ever read much of Norman O. Brown, Mahler's "philosophy" will feel familiar to you. While it is true that this novel is about memory and identity, it is also about how we use or misuse our past to take responsibility, or not, for choices we make as adults. The issues related to responsibility are played out most clearly in parenting choices, particularly ways of being a mother. (To avoid spoilers, I'll just say that Lana's mother Mary is a fascinating character--probably recognizable to many second wave feminists.) I found this to be a complex, fascinating novel. In addition to the numerous themes that Meidav layers throughout, she does an amazing job of creating mood in the landscapes that Lana moves through in different phases of her life: Berkeley in the 80s; the redwood and marijuana forests of the far northern California coast; Los Angeles; and the desert near the Buttonwillow exit off "Five" as it is called in the novel. The novel is also populated by a number of wonderful minor characters.
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Reading Progress

July 5, 2011 – Started Reading
July 5, 2011 – Shelved
July 23, 2011 – Shelved as: fiction
July 23, 2011 – Finished Reading
December 11, 2017 – Shelved as: women-writers

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