|Love Me Back: A Novel
"I met all four of them at an off-site catering event for the opening of their new Minimally Invasive Spine, Back and Neck Group."
From "5 Under 35" honoree and Rona Jaffe Award-winner comes an urgent, intensely visceral debut novel about a young waitress whose downward spiral is narrated in electric prose.
Marie, a young single mother, lands a job at an upscale Dallas steakhouse. She is preternaturally attuned to the appetites of her patrons, but quickly learns to hide her private struggle behind an easy smile and a crisp white apron. In a world of long hours and late nights, where everything runs on a currency of favors, cash and cachet, Marie gives in to brutally self-destructive impulses. She loses herself in a tangle of bodies and the kind of coke that 'napalms your emotional synapses.' But obliteration—not pleasure—is her goal. Pulsing with fierce, almost feral energy, Love Me Back is an unapologetic portrait of a woman cutting a precarious path through early adulthood.
Boy, this was gritty. It made me blush, which is pretty hard to do. I love Palahniuk, so this should have been a cake-walk. In truth, it was but I could see SO many readers turn away from this book due to the language and sleazy situations. As dirty as this book is, the truth is... so is real life (especially in the foodservice industry). This novel should be read as a warning as to what life can give you and how you should avoid the crap (a don't end up like this! cautionary tale). We all know someone like Marie, the slutty waitress that has no inhibition and lets people walk all over her. Some will look at her with disgust, others with pity but after reading this book... just MAYBE, the looks will change to understanding. Some people get shit on and others let it happen. This is life. This is the essence of this book. Truth, dirty and real and nothing you can do will stop it from happening. There are times I want to scream at the book and take a chunk out of it with my teeth.
Have any of you worked in the food industry? I did briefly, and from my experience this book is pretty dead on. Each little detail of what a day is like during the hustle and bustle of a mealtime is perfectly, horribly accurate. Hard work, end of story. I almost think that the way the job is might have something to do with the drugs, drinking and debauchery that happen, to get away from reality. Nobody wants to live like that forever, right? Theres parts of this book that make me feel grimey, like if I took my finger and rubbed it on the page, it would come back black with grime. I liked this book but do I think this is everyones cup of tea? No way. Do I think it's important to have a book that shows the perspective of a messed up girl working her butt off? Yes. People like this exist and I'll even admit that I've had my moments throughout the years that I can be ashamed of... but should we shy away from the reality of it? No. If you aren't afraid to get your hands dirty (well, maybe more your mind), read this book, I can promise you you'll learn something.
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