If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now

Loh, Sandra Tsing. If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now. New York: riverhead books, 1997.

Reason read: Loh’s birth month is in February.

Confessional: I finished this in a day. Not because it was my favorite book but because I was home sick.

This is the story of Bronwyn Peters and her boyfriend, Paul, trying to make it in the glamorous city of Los Angeles. Be prepared. This is a very dated (1990s) story and there will be times when you want to maybe slap the sh!t out of Sandra Loh. I grew weary of the plenitude of brand-name dropping that went on (Guess?, Porche, Sanyo, Motorola, Kohler, BMW, Berber, Dolce & Gabbana, Wamsutta, Crate and Barrel…to name a few), as well as hot-now celebrity names like David Lynch, Frank Zappa, Malcolm Forbes, and Madonna…
Confessional: there were definitely times I wanted to slap Bronwyn Peters. Despite listening to NPR and identifying with a Bohemian lifestyle, Bronwyn hungers for the lifestyle of $200 haircuts and Corian counters. She even convinces her struggling writer boyfriend to buy a condo in downtown Los Angeles after they come into a modest amount of money (clearly not enough for L.A. standards). They settle on a place they obviously cannot afford for long. Bronwyn knows full well they are out of their league and yet continues to plays the game to the hilt. Bronwyn’s one redeeming quality is her steadfast love for Paul. She stands by him through temptation and failure. In the end, If you Lived Here… is Loh’s platform for bringing to the forefront L.A.’s socio-economic class structure. She uses the riots as a backdrop to her commentary on attitudes, prejudices and the simple act of just wanting more.

Lines I liked: “Feeling like Bruce Willis is some sort of Dead Something action picture, Bronwyn gripped her flashlight” (p176), and “and because there was nothing else to do, she rolled over and stole her arms around her fellow, such as he was, because his was the body that was still there” (p 221).

Author fact: If you Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now is Loh’s first novel.

Book trivia: short, short, short!

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “California, Here We Come” (p 49).

3 Comments on “If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now”

  1. Yeah, can’t say that sounds appealing at all. Hope it soothed your homesickness though.

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