Don't You Forget About Me
By Jancee Dunn
(Villard, Hardcover, 9780345501905, 288pp.)
Publication Date: July 29, 2008
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After earning rave reviews with her rock-and-roll memoir But Enough About Me, Jancee Dunn takes on fiction in this comically poignant debut, a perfect read for anyone who has ever looked back nostalgically and wondered what might have been.
At thirty-eight, Lillian Curtis is content with her life. She enjoys her routine as a producer for a talk show in New York City starring showbiz veteran Vi (“short for vibrant”) Barbour, a spirited senior. Lillian’s relationship with her husband is pleasant if no longer exciting. Most nights she is more than happy to come home to her apartment and crawl into her pajamas. Then she’s hit with a piece of shocking news: Her husband wants a divorce.
Blindsided, Lillian takes a leave of absence and moves back to her parents’ home in suburban New Jersey. Nestled in her childhood bedroom, where Duran Duran and Squeeze posters still cover the walls, she finds high school memories a healing salve to her troubles. She hurtles backward into her teen years, driving too fast, digging up mix tapes, and tentatively reconciling with Dawn, a childhood friend she once betrayed. Punctuating her stroll down memory lane is an invitation to the Bethel Memorial High School class of 1988 twenty-year reunion. It just might be Lillian’s chance to reconnect with her long-lost boyfriend, Christian Somers, who is expected to attend. Will it be just like heaven?
Lillian discovers, as we all must, the pitfalls of glorifying the glory days, the mortification of failing as a thirtysomething adult, and the impossibility of fully recapturing the past. Don’t You Forget About Me is for anyone who looks back and wonders: What if?
Jancee Dunn grew up in Chatham, New Jersey. From 1989 to 2003, she was a staff writer at Rolling Stone, for which she wrote twenty cover stories. Her work has also appeared in GQ, for which she wrote a monthly sex advice column; Vogue; The New York Times; and O: The Oprah Magazine, for which she writes a monthly ethics column. She has also been a VJ for MTV2 and an entertainment correspondent for Good Morning America. Dunn is the author of But Enough About Me, a memoir about her life as a chronically nervous celebrity interviewer. She lives with her husband, the writer Tom Vanderbilt, in Brooklyn, New York.
"Steeped in ‘80s-era references, the flashback elements of Lily’s tale are breezy, reliably tacky fun...but unexpected moments of tenderness give the story heart." -- People Magazine
"Dunn's deft sense of pacing and her old-fashioned niceness make Don't You Forget About Me a breezy, entertaining summer read that never insults the reader's intelligence." - LA Times
"An eminently readable debut novel … offers a funny, tender profile of a confused woman who must go back to move forward. Those looking for a summer read with substance -- especially women whose teenage days coincided with Ronald Reagan and Wham! -- should look no further."-- New Jersey Star-Ledger
"Intelligent chick lit about a divorcee who moves back in with her parents." -- Newsweek
"In addition to being an impressive treasure trove of cultural references both high and (frequently) low, Jancee Dunn is also a tender novelist. Don't You Forget About Me is wistful, graceful, and seriously funny."
-- Meg Wolitzer, author of The Ten-Year Nap
"Memoirist (But Enough About Me) and Rolling Stone writer Dunn turns in a first-class piece of reunion lit. After her husband announces “I'm bored by our life” and leaves, childless Manhattanite Lillian Curtis, almost 38, takes a sabbatical from producing Tell Me Everything!—a talk show geared toward senior citizens—and heads for her childhood home in Morristown, N.J., to lick her wounds. The break is suggested by Tell Me's wise star Vi Barbour (“Vi is short for vibrant!”), whom Lillian adores, and it gives Lillian a chance to attend her class of '88 high school reunion and reclaim her old self. Lillian's old boyfriend, Christian Somer, is still single, still hot and in town, and getting smashed at the beach and making out might be just the thing. The setup is beyond familiar, but Dunn's delicious wit enlivens this sparkling dramedy, depicting the perils of trying to recapture a John Hughes–era past that doesn't belong in the present." - Publisher's Weekly
Praise for Jancee Dunn’s acclaimed memoir But Enough About Me: How a Small-Town Girl Went from a Shag Carpet to the Red Carpet
“Blessed with self-deprecating wit, Dunn is an irresistible narrator whose eccentric family, dear friends, and disastrous ex-boyfriends are as entertaining as the megastars she has built a career on profiling.”
“An inside look at being a celebrity journalist . . . The chapters alternate between entertaining set pieces . . . and considerations of what it means to be an aging rock chick.”
–The New Yorker
“This disarmingly funny memoir . . . allows readers to live vicariously as Dunn reveals tricks for getting stars to spill.”
“Incredibly funny . . . I loved this book from start to finish.”
–Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep