Monday, May 11, 2009

Book review: Late Night Talking by Leslie Schnur

Late Night Talking - Leslie Schnur

Jeannie Sterling is the host of a late-night New York City radio program, where she discusses topics to do with bad behaviour and everyday social injustices. Having grown up as the only child of free-spirited parents in California, Jeannie believes it is her duty to change the world, one annoying person at a time, and she vents with her listeners about poor gym etiquette, negligent pet owners, and bad drivers. But when she has a run-in with business mogul Nicholas Moss, who later buys the radio station that she works at, everything begins to unravel. Jeannie is encouraged to push her show to the limits, and although she has no qualms about doing so, she finds that it is at the expense of her long-standing alliance with best friend Luce, her relationship with her wayward father, and her new romance with old friend Tommy.
Jeannie has to decide which is more important in her life- adjusting the world by changing morals and attitudes, or adjusting herself to suit the world that she already lives in.

What I gained from reading this book:
Jeannie is a firm believer in what is right and wrong behaviour. I think this is a valuable lesson that the book teaches although the author shows that having such a black and white perspective on things can also create problems. Jeannie’s sense of what she believes helps create a more vigilant public, but it also helps to create barriers between her and the people she cares for. This book highlights the balance that needs to be drawn when considering what is right and wrong, and determines how far moralistic behaviour can be pushed before it can turn into chaos or provoke vigilantism.

This novel has several interesting storylines, including Jeannie’s relationship with her parents and the way that it has shaped her life. Flashbacks to Jeannie’s childhood show how her feminist and hippy mother handled her life in a way that not many other mothers would- she allowed her daughter to grow up in a regime-free and unconventional way but wouldn’t allow her the privileges of an ordinary teenage girl like wearing makeup, or going to the prom. The reader is shown how this affects some of Jeannie’s judgements in her adult years.
Jeannie’s friendships with Luce and Tommy, and her agitation with Nicholas Moss also provide some interesting storylines- all of which tie in with one another, and show that not everyone is who you think they are.

Some of Jeannie’s ‘moral’ rants can be annoying, and sometimes even hypocritical, especially when she picks on things that everybody has done at one time or another, herself included. But reading the lists of immoral things also highlights some of the annoying behaviours that people have to put up with every day, and may not even think of until they see it written. So maybe this ultimately isn’t a negative if people read the list and try to avoid doing the things on it.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Genre: Romance/ Relationships

Recommended for: People with a strong inner moral compass who are similar in character to Jeannie and who want to make the world a better place, free of rudeness and bad etiquette.

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:

Late Night Talking

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