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If You're Not Yet Like Me Paperback – November 1, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Paperback, November 1, 2010
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Flatmancrooked (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982034873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982034873
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,453,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lepucki's very short book is a captivating story driven by voice. The insufferable protagonist is a plain, self-loathing girl with an incisive power of observation and the unfiltered honesty and (unreliable) self-awareness of very intelligent but unmotivated people. The character takes us in the second person singular through a fleeting and unremarkable love affair (that none-the-less changes everything). It is a very American story in that it takes an everyday subject, plain characters, and the quotidian of events that are unremarkable to the flat eye of the untrained observer and turns them into well-lit, textured pages filled with wisdom and insight about life and emotions, by focusing a mature writer's eye on the significance of these events, and taking them far by the sheer power of the voice and the writer's turn-of-phrases and turn-of-images. It reminds me of Carver's writing in "What we talk about when we talk about love", though I enjoy more Lepucki's deeper plunges of self-awareness than Carver's utter flatness and his characters' unmanned drift.
One can also say that the story is very L.A. and I can swear that I have been in that coffee house and that bar and that diner. I swear I have also been in that apartment and in her tub. I may even have dated that girl before.
The book ends abruptly, as if the story fell from a sudden cliff, in what is apparently a signature Lepucki literary characteristic. The flavor of the story lingers in your mouth, perhaps because, as with any good dish, if you are left wanting more, you appreciate the exquisite culinary delicacy much more than if you were served a full plate.
This book is too short, though, and it leaves you thirsty for more Lepucki. One can only hope that she publishes a new book soon, perhaps a longer one, or otherwise, one filled with several short stories.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a surprisingly deep story. Beneath the modern self-conscious patter (which works incredibly well!) Lepucki reveals her character -partly through confessions that keep bubbling through, but more importantly through the scenes she shares with us, the subtext inside them.
It's a beautiful piece of work, and I look forward her new novel.
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Format: Paperback
Los Angles native Edan Lepucki graduated from Oberlin College and the Iowa Writer's Workshop and is a staff writer at The Millions, (an online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture since 2003) whose short fiction has been published in Los Angeles Times Magazine, Meridian, FiveChapters, McSweeney's and Narrative Magazine. She is the 2009 winner of the prestigious James D. Phelan Award. Her first novel, California, will be published by Little, Brown in July 2014. Why is it necessary to list facts? Because this young writer is making a significant impact and this novella IT YOU'RE NOT YET LIKE ME introduces a writer with keen comedic skills and a solid grasp of social commentary about current relationship peculiarities.

Joellyn is the somewhat dissociative, messy, single narrator of this little `love story'. She is unsure of how to interact with men, a situation we observe in her meeting and eventually dating the newly arrived San Francisco writer Zachary who is unremarkable, unnoticeable, doughy, and obviously new at encounters. Joellyn wears her Grannies underwear on first dates so that she won't be tempted to undress on the first time out. But she somehow has a pity break for Zachary and ends up taking him to her filthy apartment (Zachary likewise lives in moldy squalor), and a relationship of sorts begins. Joellyn also has an encounter with a handsome actor Dickens, but that haughty encounter the first go round results in little - until the end of Joellyn and Zachary when Dickens enters the picture again and impregnates her.

A short story of tow people interacting, but the lines Lepucki gives Joellyn are priceless. Brief example, when looking at the handsome Dickens' smile the second time around she state, `A girl could sleep on the pink of those gums.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This little romance creates the character of its narrator Joellyn (and the "you, baby" to whom she writes) from the inside out, giving the reader a feeling of unusual closeness with the narrator, almost as if we were truly inside her, which in a sense we are (nothing is too embarrassing for her to admit to us, putting the reader in a position of strained, almost painful voyeurism).

What a surprise near the end, then, when we learn that every word written in the first 70 pages had another meaning, a meaning that manages to be both darker and more optimistic than we might initially think. Even the language then becomes deliciously double-sided. Take, for example, the aphorism "A girl will bleed and then she will cry," introduced as part of a flashback to Joellyn's childhood, when she injured her hand playacting as a woman warrior; this evocative truism turns out to have at least three meanings and to offer three different ways of regarding the action of Joellyn's tiny, banal but completely absorbing story.

Similarly, at the turning point of the book, another character's response to Joellyn (sorry for the awkward description here; I'm trying not to spoil this wonderful moment in the book) suddenly allows us to see our protagonist from a completely different perspective and to understand secrets of her character that the intimacy of the book had hidden from us earlier.

A tight little work of genius. I want to read more of Lepucki, but I didn't wish this novella were any longer. I think it is just perfect as it is.
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