The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik

view from mount joyEvery American high school has a Kristi Casey. A semi-sociopathic, popular, sexy woman-child who can get away with anything, with anyone. Ole Bull High School (named after person, not an old animal) in suburban Minneapolis can barely contain Kristi, whose popularity shines like a twisted beacon. Who doesn’t love Kristi? Joe Andreson can’t get enough of her, although he has a love/lust/hate relationship with her that begins in high school and continues throughout his life. Nice, handsome, hockey-playing Joe, who enters Ole Bull in his senior year as a transfer student, and immediately gets sucked into Kristi’s orbit. His rich platonic friendship with the earthy-crunchy Darva Pratt is a hilarious juxtaposition to his wild and sexual relationship with the wily but not very bright Kristi. Landvik writes Joe convincingly, and his character is as solidly developed as that of Kristi, no small feat for a female author. Landvik develops her characters as do few authors, and her dialog? Funny, funny, funny. I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories, and this one satisfied. There is something very recognizable in Joe, the all-American high school hockey star who suffers an injury and ends up the manager of the local grocery; Kristi’s character is a romp, with the story line following her from her high school cheerleading days, through her college party girl persona, to her unexpected but hilarious transformation into a politically savvy televangelist.

Lorna Landvik is an amazing storyteller. If you like this book, try her Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons if you want to laugh until you howl. This is a terrific summer read!

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