Bright Lights, Big CIty

Monday, July 26, 2010

Title: Bright Lights, Big City
Author: Jay McInerney
Pages: 182
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Vintage Contemporaries (Random House)
Release Date: September 1984

In the mood to read another New York book, I picked up Bright Lights, Big City the modern classic published in 1984 about a young man, lost in life, trying to find himself in NYC. This book has been lauded by the likes of authors Jonathan Tropper and Jen Lancaster (who titled her book after, Bright Lights, Big Ass, in reference to it). Time magazine also named it one of its nine generation-defining novels.

Therefore, I had big expectations for this novel. For the most part it met my expectations. The author, Jay McInerney, described the 1980's New York nightlife where everyone snorts cocaine mindlessly on the regular. His wife, who works as a model, calls from France to tell him she's staying there and basically hopes his life goes well for him. He works for a fact department in an agency where he reads through other people's fiction to correct any incorrect "facts" but it hasn't helped him rise to the fiction department which was his goal in the first place. His friend, Ted Allagash, calls him up every night to party at random clubs.

While I found the 182 page romp through 1980's New York interesting, I'm fairly certain I read it much too superficially. The significance of most of it probably slipped through my fingers. Just from the little I've read written about it on various websites, I see that I didn't "get it". I wonder if some of what was so loved about this book was that it was innovative and enlightening for its time. (?) Anyway, even though it was an "easy" read, I feel like some cliff notes might help me out a little. Unless any of you have read it and can explain to me what I was supposed to have gotten from it?

Oh! I almost forgot to mention this book is written in second person. It might be the first book I've read like this, and while I normally wouldn't like it, it worked for this book, and I still felt like I was reading about another person rather than feeling like I was him. It's almost like I'm reading something he wrote to himself. Sounds strange but it actually worked out fine, lol.

Anyway, I'm way behind the times on this because apparently there was a movie based on this book with Michael J. Fox and Keifer Sutherland from 1988, an off-broadway musical for a little bit in 1999, and was performed on stage in the UK in 2009 (just last year!) I guess that's how out of the loop you can get when you're only 2-years-old when the book is published, lol. But apparently they are also re-making the movie, set to release in 2013. So... I will be watching the original movie soon and will return here to review it!


Trisha said...

I was four when the book was published and like you, I have no experience with it. It definitely sounds interesting though.

Zibilee said...

I think there are a lot of books out there that I have only really gotten superficially. It makes me want to reread them again, but I am always unsure if I will learn anything the second time around either!! I have to say that this book sounds really interesting to me, and perhaps I will give it a try and see the movie as well. I am glad that you mostly liked this one!!

Bonnie said...

Hi, sounds like an awesome book. I'm adding it to my TBR list!


Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

This sounds interesting, if only for the sake of past-tripping to the 80's and learning a bit about the publishing business. :-)

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I knew it was a movie but a show? How strange. Never read the book but saw the movie.

Jennifer said...

Sometimes, when a book gets too much hype, I just pass on it. Because for whatever reasons, books can get over-hyped and then by the time you get around to reading them, you don't really get it. Still, I'm intrigued by this book because so many names that I know and love are fans of it. Very interesting. Something that totally wasn't in my radar at all.
Jennifer @

Jenny said...

Trisha -- I'm glad I'm not the only one! I thought maybe I was way out of the loop or something!

Heather -- Yeah, I still did like this book but I don't think I would get what I needed from a second read through. I need someone to tell me what I'm looking for/at, lol!

Bonnie -- I hope you like it!

Stephanie -- haha, true! You know, I wondered do publishers really have a "fact department". I know there are editors whose job it is to look out for that kind of thing, but I thought that whole concept was really interesting!

Michelle -- I was surprised that one of the shows was so recent! (but it was in the UK which is why I had no clue, lol)

Jennifer -- I'm thinking that when it first came out it was considered totally amazing and insightful but we have so much of that now, lol

Nikki-ann said...

I've seen the movie... I'm a big Kiefer Fan! :)

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