From Publishers Weekly
Essay lovers can take heart. There's a new voice in the fray, and it belongs to a talented young writer. In this collection of (largely previously published) on-target analyses of American culture, Daum offers the disapproval of youth, leavened with pithy humor and harsh self-appraisal . In each essay, she sustains interest with a good story and pricks the reader's conscience with observations that reverberate personally, whether about the secret desires of Christian women or the stunning ease of accumulating debt while existing unluxuriously in New York City. Publishing veterans will be amused and chagrined to see their profession skewered in "Publishing and Other Near-Death Experiences"; and for a hard take on one's responsibility for mourning, there is the book's best work, "Variation on Grief." Daum's decidedly agnostic outlook sometimes makes for easy moral outs, and time may render her phrasings cute. While her main premise that many Americans live "not actual lives but simulations of lives... via the trinkets on our shelves" leaves room for disagreement, on the whole, readers will enjoy an edgy read. (Mar. 15) Forecast: Daum's pieces have appeared in traditional magazines like the New Yorker, as well as in cutting-edge venues like Nerve, and have earned her a considerable reputation as a sharp Gen-X voice. Review attention and good word-of-mouth should earn this book brisk sales.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This eclectic collection of essays delves into the corners of contemporary life, ferreting out the eccentric as well as the ordinary. Readers can identify with Daum's disdain for carpeting or her difficulty living within her means on New York's Upper West Side while working at a low-paying publishing job. On a less familiar note is an essay exploring the lifestyle of a group in California who call their communal way of life "polyamory," a brand of free love reminiscent of the 1960s. Not shy about implicating herself, Daum plunges into such thorny issues as an Internet romance and her inability to mourn a friend's death, along with her irritation at his superficial, enabling parents. A regular contributor to National Public Radio, Daum writes essays and articles appearing in major publications including The New Yorker, Harper's, New York Times, GQ, Self, and Vogue. Her work demonstrates honesty and an ability to look perceptively at herself and contemporary life. Daum's is a provocative and refreshing new voice. Recommended for larger public libraries. Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.