HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Book Review #61: Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
Bright lights, big city is a phrase I’ve heard a thousand times, applied to New York. I always associated it with the physicality of New York, and the hope that people have when they move there. I haven’t seen the movie adaptation (starring Michael J. Fox and Kiefer Sutherland), and this book was unexpected. This phrase really speaks to how the bright lights can blind you and the big city will swallow you up.
Jamie Conway is kind of everything people hate about New York. He’s a fact checker for a famous magazine, and when he finally “makes it” to New York (and makes it in New York?) he can’t help but over inflate his self importance. When we meet Jamie, his wife has abandoned him and he’s living the life that many people associate with New York. Cruising the hottest bars, clubs and restaurants with his partner in crime Tad Allagash, drugging himself into oblivion and having shallow conversations and empty sex with women as soulless as he is.
We’re meant to feel sorry for Jamie. I think. Or at understand how he became the quintessential, arrogant asshole that he is. As the book goes on, and he begins to burn the “glamorous” life he built for himself with his magazine job to the ground, we learn more about the abandonment, tragedy and desertions that brought him to such a wretched place in his life.