I seldom read fiction. I think real life is absurd enough that I don't have to spend what little time I do have reading something conjured by someone else.
I'm a fan of the memoir, because I find people and their lives inherently fascinating and beautifully flawed. And if the title grabs me, I'm bound to pick it up and read it. Truth be told, I've never been disappointed by a book with a good title.
Enter Vicki Abelson's novel, Don't Jump - Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n Roll and My Fucking Mother. With a title like that, who could resist? And though it's called a "novel," one knows immediately upon reading it, that it's more truth than fiction.
Told through the lens of Andi, the book's protagonist, Abelson brings us on her celebrity-laced journey of lessons learned the hard way, and I reveled in every delicious moment of it.
I was immediately captivated from the first page to the last, not just by Abelson's painful self-awareness, but by her candor, humor, raw vulnerability, and unabashed willingness to fully own her own journey.
We live in a culture that savors the salacious details of celebrity life, and somehow, Vicki Abelson is able to let us live vicariously through Andi, as she brushes against fame again and again, and takes us along on her very human carnival ride.
If you came of age in the 70's and 80's, as I did, and you were as obsessed in the pop culture of the times as I was, you will have no trouble identifying the fictionalized celebrity characters in the book, and you will have fun doing so.
I think if we were all to be honest, most of us would admit that our lives have not turned out according to plan. We saw ourselves in a completely different place than we wound up.
At its heart, I think that is what this book is about, and I think because it does it so honestly, it reminds us that where we wind up comes with its own unexpected gifts and rewards, and most of us wouldn't trade that, even for the life we had once imagined.
I identified with the lead character's gnawing self-doubt and desire to be loved. I think many of us share those feelings. I think many of us make choices that, in hindsight, we probably wish we hadn't. But all of it makes us who we are and sets us on our course to our true destiny. Don't Jump is a celebration of that.
Like a good cup of coffee and a conversation with an old friend, I never wanted this book to end. I savored it. I loved it. I had a good time reading it, and it spoke to me. How many times do you say that about a book? Right. Not many. Kudos to Vicki Abelson on a story well told and well worth the telling.