Tag Archives: “Don’t You Forget About Me”

DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME by Jancee Dunn

Dunn I just finished Don't You Forget About Me, by Jancee Dunn, which has been close to the top of my TBR pile for a while. It's about Lily Curtis, a thirty-eight year old woman in Manhattan whose life is kind of stuck – job where she isn't challenged, unchanging routines, and comfortable marriage. Her life is upended when her husband unexpectedly tells her he wants a divorce. After a few months wallowing in depression, she decides to take some time off and go stay with her parents in New Jersey.

Don't You Forget About Me is basically an homage to Lily's high school years, with which she is obsessed. Upon her return home, she excavates her childhood room, uncovering momentos, photos, and music from the 80s and her tumultuous high school years, which were characterized, like everyone's, by waxing and waning friendships, parties, and crushes. Because her life is basically at a standstill, and with her 20th high school reunion looming, Lily starts living in the past, driving by old boyfriends' houses and rekindling friendships that fell by the wayside.

I enjoyed this book at lot. First, I loved all the 80s references, from Firenza skirts and Soloflex posters to Squeeze "Singles" and Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers. Lily and I are only a year apart in age, so her high school memories weren't all that different from mine. Dunn is an entertaining writer, and the book was perfectly paced. I laughed out loud several times while reading it, and didn't want to put it down.

This is definitely a light read. The lessons Lily learns at the end of the book aren't earth-shattering. Lily's relationship with her high school boyfriend, whom she sees at the reunion, is predictably flawed. But I really did enjoy the book, and I recommend it, especially to those of us who have a tendency to romanticize what were basically pretty unhappy years.

Let’s Get Ready To Rock: DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME, ROCK ON, AND LOVE IS A MIX TAPE

I finished Run today, thanks to a pair of long flights west, and am looking ahead to my next books. I love combining two of my favorite interests – books and music – so I have two books on tap that might fit the bill. The first is Don't You Forget About Me, by Jancee Dunn, which I wrote about here. The second is Love Is A Mix Tape, by Rob Sheffield, a book I discovered a while ago and wrote about here.

Both covers have cassettes on them:

Sheffield

Dunn

Perhaps when I finish these two, I will finally get to Rock On, by Dan Kennedy – a rock and roll/fiction trifecta.

Of course this plan might fly out the window after my planned visit to the famed Powell's bookstore tomorrow.

Reminder: The online book club for Run will take place here on Thursday Sept. 25th. Happy reading!

DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME by Jancee Dunn

Here's a book that might only appeal to a certain cross-section of EDIWTB readers – those in their late 30s with complicated feelings about high school. I have to say, I am dying to read it.

It's called Don't You Forget About Me by Jancee Dunn. Here's the Amazon description:

Dunn At thirty-eight, Lillian Curtis is content with her life. She enjoys her routine as a producer for a talk show in New York City starring showbiz veteran Vi (“short for vibrant”) Barbour, a spirited senior. Lillian’s relationship with her husband is pleasant if no longer exciting. Most nights she is more than happy to come home to her apartment and crawl into her pajamas. Then she’s hit with a piece of shocking news: Her husband wants a divorce.

Blindsided, Lillian takes a leave of absence and moves back to her parents’ home in suburban New Jersey. Nestled in her childhood bedroom, where Duran Duran and Squeeze posters still cover the walls, she finds high school memories a healing salve to her troubles. She hurtles backward into her teen years, driving too fast, digging up mix tapes, and tentatively reconciling with Dawn, a childhood friend she once betrayed. Punctuating her stroll down memory lane is an invitation to the Bethel Memorial High School class of 1988 twenty-year reunion. It just might be Lillian’s chance to reconnect with her long-lost boyfriend, Christian Somers, who is expected to attend. Will it be just like heaven?

Lillian discovers, as we all must, the pitfalls of glorifying the glory days, the mortification of failing as a thirtysomething adult, and the impossibility of fully recapturing the past. Don’t You Forget About Me is for anyone who looks back and wonders: What if?

Here is a positive review from the L.A. Times.

While looking for reviews of Don't You Forget About Me I came across this amazing site: Cassette From My Ex. It's a blog about old mix tapes made by exes, with posts written by the recipient of old mixes about the significance of the tape and the relationship. There's also a corresponding audioo playlist for each one. So cool! I want to go dig up my old mixes (god, I had so many) and submit them to the site. Jancee Dunn's is the most recent entry, about a tape she one received titled "Hey Babe".

Has anyone out there read this? Jill from Breaking the Spine – did you end up reading this on vacation?

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