I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Wonder Bread Summer by Jessica Anya Blau
Published by HarperCollins on 2013-05-28
Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, Humorous, Literary
It's 1983 in Berkeley, California. Twenty-year-old Allie Dodgson is a straitlaced college student working part-time at a dress shop to make ends meet. But when the shop turns out to be a front for a dangerous drug-dealing business, Allie finds herself on the lam, speeding toward Los Angeles in her best friend's Prelude with a Wonder Bread bag full of cocaine riding shotgun and a hit man named Vice Versa on her tail. You can't find a more thrilling summer read!
If I remember correctly, I receive The Wonder Bread Summer at the Harper Collins party last year at BEA. When I first read the back of the book I was intrigued because it sounded like a fun humorous read and I thought that it would be a step away from my ďnormalĒ reads. Unfortunately, what I initially thought was the case regarding this book was not what I found at all. Honestly, Iím not sure if I really found anything too amusing or humorous about it. If anything, it just made me really confused.
The main character Allie is a freshman at UC Berkley, and whose entire life has been dedicated to being straight laced, and focusing on the future. Everything is on track in her life until she starts dating a guy named Marc who tells her to loosen up a bit and gets her to experiment with alcohol, drugs, and sex before stealing 7000.00 worth of student loans from her. Now she doesnít have money for school, she canít pay her rent, and to top it all off her sleazy boss wonít pay her for the work she has done in his dress shop. Pushed to her limits, Allie steals a huge bag of cocaine from her boss, and suddenly she is on the run from a drug dealer and his associates.
If anyone is confused by that brief synopsis, I donít blame them because even after reading the book Iím still not exactly what went on. For someone who was supposed to be really smart like Allie, she sure did make some really stupid decisions. I literally lost track of all the stupid decision she made through out the course of the story. Like, sheís running from these drug dealers, and suddenly she decides that she is going to sell some of the cocaine as payment for the debt that her boss owes her. Yeah, you just read that correctly. Iím not sure what makes her think this is a good idea except for the fact that she has no cash on her and she is on the run but even that really doesnít make her actions understandable.
**SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you don’t want to be spoiled**
Also, there is a part of The Wonder Bread Summer that I think is supposed to be liberating for the character but all it did for me was make me shudder. I know the book is set in the 1980ís, and I understand that Billy Idol was big during that time period. I mean, who doesnít like a little White Wedding now and then? But to suddenly have Allie hook up with Billy Idol was just an ick-factor for me. I couldnít support it, and it made me dislike the character even more than I already did for her stupid decisions. Seriously for someone who is supposed to be so smart it is very obvious that she is only book smart and that she doesnít have a bit of street smarts in her.
The writing was also a turn off for me. It was just so awkward. It didnít feel set in the 1980ís to me, and on top of that it felt like it was lewd at times just to be lewd. Right from the opening there is a moment that literally made me cringe as I was reading and was almost enough for me to put the book down completely. Somehow I managed to persevere although it really wasnít worth it as it just got more awkward and more unrealistic as it went on. Oh, and did I mention that the conflict in the story is wrapped up in a neat and tidy completely unrealistic package? Because it is Ö leaving me to sit there going like this:
If Iím honest I canít think of one redeeming quality about The Wonder Bread Summer which is really unfortunate if you ask me. I do know that it has gotten some good reviews from other people so maybe I just didnít get it. That is entirely possible as books speak to different people different ways. That is what is so wonderful about them, right? But for me, this one just didnít work Ö