If you could travel back to high school, would you? A review of Here I Go Again

Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster is the latest book to be discussed for BlogHer Book Club.

I’ll be honest. For some strange reason, I’ve always been fond of movies where the main character travels back in time (usually to high school) to revisit decisions they have made. In fact, one of my favorite movies growing up was Peggy Sue Got Married (I never said I had impeccable taste). It’s rather odd that I would have been obsessed with that film *while* I was in high school, but I loved watching to see what Kathleen Turner would do in her high school life with her grown-up knowledge. So it’s no surprise that I dug in to Jen Lancaster’s Here I Go Again with glee.

In Here I Go Again, I had the opportunity to time travel with the main character, Lissy Ryder. Lissy was one of the “in” crowd in high school–popular, wealthy, and felt the need to put down others to boost her status. She continued this superficial life until it all came crashing down on her before her 20 year class reunion. When her former classmates were unwilling to forgive her for the trauma she caused them two decades prior, Lissy found herself with the opportunity to go back in time to change it all. So she does. Only she doesn’t get it quite right the first time around and has to do a little “trial and error” with time travel.

Lissy Ryder is an extremely difficult character to like. She is mean and superficial at her core. As I read the first half of the book, I wondered how anyone could be her friend. Traveling through time [apparently] changes a person, and throughout the book Lissy becomes more tolerable. We learn about how her home life as a kid created the shallow person she eventually became–thanks to a competitive, superficial mother who is even harder to like than her daughter. However, I appreciated that this story was told from a popular person’s point of view. I think that Lancaster doesn’t want us to like Lissy (certainly not at the beginning) and that creates an interesting story.

Perhaps one thing that was missing from this book was more interaction between Lissy and her next door neighbor, Brian. Early in the book, Lissy wonders “what if” — how her life might have been different if she ended up with her nerdy high school neighbor, Brian, instead of the football player, Duke. Once this is revealed, I knew that this would be an avenue she would explore in her past. However, there are only a few scenes with them and I didn’t really feel a missed connection there as much as I wanted to.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lancaster’s style of writing. It’s witty and fun. Pop culture references are sprinkled throughout like chocolate chips in a cookie (note to self: bake some cookies tonight).  Here I Go Again was a quick, fun read–something I especially appreciate since I read it while watching my toddler. I actually may be (dare I say it?) a fan of Lancaster’s writing, so I am going to try to check out some of her other books. Overall, Here I Go Again was a wonderful, playful novel and it gets the thumbs up from me.

**I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, but the opinions are all my own.

One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. YAY JENNN!!! I love her and I’ve gotten a few of my frdeins addicted to her as well. So funny.But Alicia is correct, her books are memoirs. Some names are changed and stories are combined, but they are not fiction. In fact, you can find them in the “biography” section of bookstores 🙂

    February 17th, 2013

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