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Marlena
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June 2017: Coming of Age > Marlena by Julie Buntin- 3.5 stars

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Tracy (tstan) | 1194 comments Cat has left her old life in Michigan behind for New York City, and has tried to forget Marlena, her best friend who died. When Marlena's brother, Sal, contacts Cat, hoping to get some answers about Marlena's death, the memories come flooding back: good and drug/alcohol-fueled bad alike.

The good: The writing is really, really good.
Buntin certainly does an evocative sentence well: "We're pretending to be girls with minor secrets, listening to Joni Mitchell with the volume turned up." And her descriptions of alcoholism/addiction are spot on. I've heard her style compared to Lorrie Moore, and I think that's pretty accurate, with a little Daniel Woodrell thrown in, too.
The bad: I spent too much energy trying to figure out when it took place (which I shouldn't have- unreliable narrator). Connecting with the characters was tough, too. They were well drawn, but it felt like Cat shared a bit too much. Almost like I was watching one of those gossip shows or Jerry Springer- compelling, but at the end, you need a shower. And last, this story wasn't a new one, unfortunately.
I will look for more books by this author- she can only get better, and she's darn good now.


message 2: by Anita (new) - added it

Anita Pomerantz | 6432 comments Despite the fact you clearly didn't love it, I'm intrigued . . .I like your sample sentence, and it sounds suitably dark (although I hate to think I'm the type who would watch Jerry Springer, but maybe I need to just embrace my voyeuristic side).


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