Book Reviews: Don’t You Forget About Me by Jancee Dunn

25153512Former staff writer for Rolling Stone and author of the rock and roll memoir, But Enough About Me, Jancee Dunn has turned her considerable writing talents to fiction, and the result is the poignant and endearing novel, Don’t You Forget About Me.

Don’t You Forget About Me is about Lillian Curtis. At 38, Lillian seems to a have a pretty good life. She works as a producer of the talk show Tell Me Everything! featuring old Hollywood star, Vivian Barbour. Lillian lives in New York City with her husband, and though their marriage is no longer passionate, Lillian is content. However, her husband feels differently. He wants a divorce. Not surprisingly, Lillian is completely shocked.

Vivian (who I saw as a combination of Auntie Mame and Betty White) convinces Lillian to take a sabbatical from producing the show. And Lillian ends up going home to New Jersey where her parents welcome her back. Back in her old bedroom, surrounded by posters of Duran Duran and Squeeze, Lillian has no idea where her marriage went wrong and wonders what to do next.

Then she receives an invitation to her 20th year high school reunion. This brings up a flood of memories, which include her ex-boyfriend Christian Somers. Lillian becomes obsessed with Christian, replaying their high school romance from first kiss to break up in her mind. She wonders what he’s up to, if he’ll remember her and if he still thinks about her the way she still thinks about him.

Though she’s closing in on forty, Lillian begins to relive her teen years. She listens to old mix tapes, reads faded notes sent in her classes (remember this was before text messaging) and re-connects with her old high school chums. One of these friends includes Dawn, a girl Lillian viciously betrayed when she became part of the popular crowd. And even though it’s been twenty years since graduation, Dawn isn’t so willing to forgive and forget.

Feeling like a big loser in her thirties, Lillian believes high school glory will make her feel much better. But she soon realizes the “best years” of her life weren’t really that great and there is a reason why we call the past, the past. And there is also a reason why our ex-boyfriends are our ex-boyfriends. Lillian knows she has to move forward with her life

Don’t You Forget Me is written in an engaging style that immediately grabs you. Lillian is a character that most of us can relate to even if you didn’t graduate during the era of acid wash jeans and big hair. Lillian can be frustrating, but at the same time you totally root for her. Don’t You Forget Me is a fun read with characters that stayed with me after I read the last sentence. If you’re looking for an entertaining summer read that won’t make you lose brain cells, pick up Don’t You Forget About Me.