Caution: The post contains Sex And Rage: A Novel spoilers.February is a short month, so I chose a relatively short book called Sex And Rage by Eve Babitz.
With its breezy, almost poetic writing style, this novel is pretty different than anything I’ve ever read. But Sex And Rage
Sex And Rage takes place in Los Angeles, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is unfamiliar with the area; the author makes a ton of references to certain landmarks and local nuances. That, combined with the read’s light, airy style, gives this read a warm-and-cozy, homelike feeling. If you are also familiar with L.A., I think you’ll really like it, too!
Jacaranda and her sister April are L.A.-natives who grew up on the beach, surfing day in and day out. After high school, Jacaranda moves inland to Hollywood with her boyfriend and gets involved with a hard-partying crowd, sliding through life on her good looks and a part-time surfboard painting gig.
Before the reader knows it, Jacaranda is a 28-year-old writer, separated from Max and living in a small, unfurnished apartment. Her new love interest, a Hawaiian heartthrob she’s known since she was a kid, moves in–but he doesn’t realize the extant of the alcohol problem Jacaranda developed over the past years.
On most days, after a 7 a.m. wakeup call from her editor in New York, Jacaranda is heavily drunk before noon. Jacaranda met her editor at a popular local cafe (blackout drunk, of course) while she was visiting L.A.
But when she goes back to New York and Jacaranda has enough of her book finished to meet with publishers, she insists Jacaranda makes the cross-country trip.
Her live-in boyfriend is all for it; he himself frequently leaves L.A. without notice to go surfing in Laguna Beach. Jacaranda, on the other hand, is super hesitant, so she often drunkenly picks a fight with him. She’ll then call her editor crying, saying that something’s happened and she can’t come to New York.
The truth is, she’s too comfortable in the socialite lifestyle she’s developed and the high-rolling, socialite friends she’s made. That, and she doesn’t want her editor and the publishers to see what an alcoholic she is for themselves; she fears New York is too serious, too public for her.
After putting up a good fight, Jacaranda makes the trip to New York–she decides her group of friends aren’t as friendly as they seem. Unattached and living in an era without cell phones or social media, she cuts ties with her socialite lifestyle (which mainly consisted of drinking White Ladies among L.A.’s wealthiest power players, whom she once called friends).
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel! It was exciting and did a good job keeping my attention. The main character was equal parts relatable (in that she was a young woman not 100-percent sure of her path–I am by no means an alcoholic…Just had to throw in the disclaimer) and interesting. I would definitely consider reading more work by Eve Babitz!
But for now…Next up is Women Who Work: Rewriting The Rules For Success by Ivanka Trump.