Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: Maynard & Jennica

I picked up Maynard & Jennica on a whim at my local bookstore and bought it after reading the first several pages. It was a clever take on a "boy meets girl" story, as the story is told in multiple first person narratives from, not just the lead characters, but also their friends, families, attorney, and various other random people.
On a sweltering day in the summer of 2000, musician and filmmaker Maynard Gogarty spots the beautiful Jennica Green on an uptown number 6 train. Though their initial meeting is brief, when fate next brings them together romance ensues. And as with most things in life, everyone has an opinion.
I thought the format of this book was unusual and enjoyable, but I didn't quite click with the characters. I think this was because the story cut back and forth between everyone so much, meaning we didn't spend too much time with any one character. Then again, Maynard, actually, annoyed me a bit, with his old fashioned clothes and lack of common sense, so I probably wouldn't wanted to have spent an entire book in his head. Still, I found the book to be charming and fun to read.

My favorite thing about it, though, was quite personal - I really liked the very California touches in the book. While it is mostly set on the east coast, in New York particularly, Jennica grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and talks about California life quite a bit. Clearly the author, Rudolph Delson, is a California native. Only a local would think of some of the funny touches he includes - making fun of the Nut Tree, for example.
The history is, between the world wars, developers started cutting down the fruit trees in Santa Clara Valley and subdividing the orchards. So by the time I got to high school, in 1986, you could tell the age of the shade trees in San Jose by the age of the houses. Like, "That's an Eichler from the fifties, so that maple must be in its thirties." Eichler was this notorious developer, to be mentioned only with distaste. It was a point of ridiculous pride in my family that our house was built in 1924 and was in the Rose Garden District, which Eichler hardly touched. And that our house had wood-frame windows, not aluminum. And that instead of having a swimming pool in our backyard, we had cherry trees, and a cement fountain of a shepherd pulling a thorn from his foot that came from a 1920s Sears, Roebuck catalogue. I knew about all this before I knew how to multiply, about Eichlers and wood-frame windows and fruit trees versus shade trees.
These days Eichlers are in style, but I read this passage to my husband, a Bay Area native, and he laughed at how true it was.

I think Maynard & Jennica would appeal to anyone who likes their love stories a little bit different.

Buy Maynard and Jennica on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. I liked it too! One of the funniest parts, I thought, was at the Luau in Hawaii.

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