Book Review

Up, a novel by Lisa Jones

ISBN 0-9715309-0-4
121 pages; paper; U.S. $12.95
First printing: May 2002

Up. A short title for a quick, yet engaging read. The novel, written by local author Lisa Jones, ironically is similar in the wit and self-analysis from its central character as 'Bridget Jones Diary.'

Young Becky Pine, a recent college graduate, is restless for a grander life than what Denver has to offer. After a brief encounter with a woman from Los Angeles, Becky heads west to be where she’s told "all the women are." Not knowing what to do at the start of her newfound adventure, Becky takes (or rather, almost demands) a job at a used car lot in L.A. Here she meets up with a seedy yet almost pathetically likable group of co-workers who end up teaching her about life and love.

In addition to her job, Miss Pine is on a mission to find her place (and a girlfriend) in the gay-friendly community she has moved into. In this, as in many instances, Jones has a knack for nailing what many a frustrated lesbian has run into in her search for community and belonging. Most of the hangouts in Becky’s predominantly gay and lesbian neighborhood are frequented by men, to which she wonders where are all the women?

"I wanted to be a competent lesbian, so I needed to learn. When I wasn’t at work, I was studying the sex manuals and queer-culture guides I bought at a gay bookstore down the street... Not only did this information fascinate me, it reminded me of my acute lack of lesbian friends and the dismally nonexistent stare of my love life. Also, it suggested an answer to the question: Where are all the women? They’re at home, presumably doing this."

Up: A Novel is for anyone who has ever felt misplaced in life and wonders where his or her soul mate is. Lisa Jones takes a humorous look at what can so often be a painful journey in life, that of finding a place and one’s own self worth.

Review by MSCD Alum, Xena Ryan