Bridget Hoida's debut novel, So L.A. is a vibrant and original portrayal of the title city and what lies beneath its fake tan and rhinestone exterior.
As a teenager, Francesca Lia Block was one of my very favourite authors, and that included her Weetzie Bat series. Honestly, So L.A. reminds me of a grown up version of Weetzie Bat. Not because of the characters specifically but because of the overall atmosphere of the story.
I'm not sure if this is the fault of a smaller scale publishing house, or just usual human error, but there were some glaring typos in So L.A., such as 'corner' instead of 'coroner' and 'he' instead of 'she' and maybe even more that I might have missed because I didn't know the word in the first place, like "Negro Modelo" which when I googled seemed to indicate pretty clearly that the alcoholic beverage is actually called "Negra Modelo". So that was definitely annoying. And yes, unfortunately I have to point these things out because they took me out of the smoggy and gritty world Hoida created and disrupted my reading experience.
But typos asides, So L.A. is a gorgeous book. The narrator,
Magdalena, is fascinating. On the surface she's the perfect LA woman, but beneath it she's got a lot of issues that the reader gets to explore. I found her back story incredibly interesting when it came to her brother, and less so with some of the other aspects like her husband and the Jennifers (I won't explain that further so as not to spoil anything).
The best thing about So L.A. is the writing. The book is divided up into tiny sections, some are only a page long, like scenes from a movie. If it were a film, it would be a film noir, dark and sharp in its details.
Magdalena isn't the kind of girl you can relate to, and I didn't emotionally connect to her at all, but I still found her fascinating to read about. In So L.A. Hoida provides a glimpse into another world, one that I wouldn't want to live in but that I was happy to visit through her vivid and beautiful words.
Release Date: June 20th 2012 Pages: 384 Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours Publisher: Lettered Press
Buy It: Book Depository