Jen Lancaster’s novel, Here I Go Again, starts off on the wrong foot and never really gets back into step for me.
The novel starts off by introducing a character that every kid in high school remembers dealing with. Lissy Ryder is pretty much the Regina George of the book’s world. The mean but popular and beautiful girl who makes it her mission in life to make other people’s high school experience miserable.
I don’t know if it was my high school, or my high school experience, but I never really knew anybody who was quite as extreme as Lissy Ryder or Regina George. The supposed mean girls didn’t exist in the same capacity they do in these worlds. Or maybe I wasn’t special enough to garner any attention from them. Even looking back, I’m not sure I can pinpoint any girl that was anything like Lissy or Regina. I watched Mean Girls as a satiric and hyperbolical portrayal of the mean but popular girls in high school. Here I Go Again is hyperbolic, but I didn’t feel it had any element of satire within it. Instead, Lissy Ryder was a hated character that didn’t feel three dimensional to me.
Lissy Ryder, in her thirties, is given a second chance to go back and fix the mistakes she made in high school. She wants to be less selfish in her treatment of others, but she never really does a 180 in her personality. She is egotistical, and the author gives her good reason to be. It is made painfully clear that Lissy’s relentless teasing of the ‘misfits’ of her high school is the reason they all went on to become powerful and successful after graduation. Moral of that story? It’s alright to bully and tease other kids, because it makes them better in the long run.
I don’t at all believe that this was Lancaster’s point of her story. However, it is the moral that I came away with. This book, which focused more on expository writing and lacked in dialogue to move the plot forward, didn’t hold up for me. I was really disappointed, especially since I have friends who are fans of Lancaster’s previous books. I was told this book would be ‘funny’, and I didn’t find myself laughing.
I wasn’t bullied in high school, and I wasn’t popular. I was pretty much left alone, on the outskirts of any cliques that might have existed. I want to put that in writing, so you know that I’m not some survivor of high school bullying angry at an author wanting readers to feel sorry for the poor little popular mean girl.
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As a member of the BlogHer Book Club, I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes. I will be compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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