TLC Book Tours: My New American Life

My New American Life

 Francine Prose

Harper Perennial

336 pages

Lula, a twenty-six-year-old Albanian woman living surreptitiously in New York City on an expiring tourist visa, hopes to make a better life for herself in America. When she lands a job caring for a rebellious high schooler in wealthy, suburban New Jersey, it seems that the American dream may finally be within reach. But things take a sinister turn when Lula’s Albanian “brothers” show up in a black SUV to remind her that all Albanians are family—and that Lula’s family has a very serious favor to ask.

Set in the aftermath of 9/11, My New American Life offers a biting and darkly humorous portrait of an era when dreams and ideals began to give way to cynicism, fear, and still-resonating questions about what it means to be an American.

From the TLC website

I have heard such great things about Francine Prose and I loved her book Goldengrove, so I agreed to host a tour stop for My New American Life for that reason alone. The premise sounded interesting enough.  I love a good immigrant story, so I didn’t have any hesitations picking this book up.  I realized that after one week of reading this, I was absolutely dreading picking it up. I finally admitted defeat at page 111.

The writing style was part of the problem.  I felt no connection with the story and characters.  Everything and everyone felt two dimensional and disjointed. The narrative was no linear enough for me either.  All of a sudden, Lula had these three Armenian guys in the house asking her to hide their gun.  What the hell?  I couldn’t understand what was going on or why she agreed to go along with it when she knew nothing about the situation.

I hate giving up on tour books, but I couldn’t torture myself any longer.  Prose is a well known author, but this one fell short.

About Francine Prose

Francine Prose is the author of many bestselling books of fiction, including A Changed Man and Blue Angel, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the nonfiction New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. Her novel, Household Saints, was adapted for a movie by Nancy Savoca. Another novel, The Glorious Ones, has been adapted into a musical of the same name by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, which ran at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York City in the Fall of 2007. Her latest novel, Goldengrove, was published in September 2008. She is the president of PEN American Center. She lives in New York City.

Francine’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 15th: Book Club Classics!

Thursday, May 17th: Bookstack

Monday, May 21st: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, May 28th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Tuesday, May 29th: Books and Movies

Wednesday, May 30th: Veronica M.D.

Tuesday, June 5th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Wednesday, June 6th: Reviews By Lola

Thursday, June 7th: I Read. Do you?

Monday, June 11th: My Bookshelf

Tuesday, June 12th: Chocolate & Croissants

Thursday, June 14th: Literate Housewife

9 Responses

  1. [...] this link: TLC Book Tours: My New American Life « ReviewsbyLola's Blog (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = [...]

  2. Sorry this one didn’t work for you. I’ve heard the same complaints from many different bloggers. I can’t say it sounds like one I’d read either especially with such an abrupt plot change.

  3. I feel your pain! I finished it only because I wanted to know how it turned out, but it definitely wasn’t a great read for me. Disappointing, because her non-fiction book Reading Like a Writer is one of my all-time favorites!

  4. Ooohh…I hate when that happens, especially when it is a book you feel like you HAVE to read (like for a book tour). Too bad it didn’t work for you.

  5. [...] May 30th: Veronica M.D. Tuesday, June 5th: Iwriteinbooks’s blogWednesday, June 6th: Reviews By LolaThursday, June 7th: I Read. Do you?Monday, June 11th: My BookshelfTuesday, June 12th: Chocolate [...]

  6. Darn, I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you.

  7. Good for you to call it quits on this one – I have such a hard time doing that but there are so many great books out there that it’s silly to read something you dread picking up.

  8. Maybe I will look for Goldengrove,then.

  9. Francine Prose is an author whose books I want to read. I planned to read this one until I started reading reviews of it when it was first published. I was disappointed that blogger reviews as well as many of the professionals reviews were lukewarm. I decided to stick with my initial choice of Goldengrove which you said you loved as so many other readers did. (Now to find some time to read it!)

    It certainly sounds to me like you gave this book plenty of pages to work for you. I have extreme difficulty reading a book when I don’t connect with the story or the characters and totally understand why you put this book down for good.

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