“You can’t rape the willing.” The immortal words of Alison Poole, the star of Story of My Life. The more observant of you may recognise the name from American Psycho, but this is a girl in a class of her own. She’s young, beautiful, rich(ish), taking acting classes to better her future. Now, you may think Alison is one dimensional, but you’d be wrong.
“Great minds sink alike.” It’s easy to quote our star, because she’s so memorable. This is a girl you don’t want to fuck with. She has one principle: truth. In a generation of trying to get ahead, truth is left behind. Not in this novel. She tells us, her friends, whoever she’s in lust with, everyone really, that she only has one principle; honesty. And she’s not kidding. She doesn’t lie (a lot). She’s blunt, but it’s part of her charm.
Set in New York, the novel, much like the city, flies by at a million miles per hour. We follow Alison across town, east to west, north to south, from one club to another and one apartment to the next, as she tries to consume everything she possibly can – without having to work for it. She’s funded by her absentee father, when he remembers to send the money, but she always finds someone way or another.
She’s surrounded by a group of friends similar to her; she’s a bad influence on them and they her. There’s Rebecca, her sister, who just wants to fuck everyone, including whoever Alison is with. Francesca, who just wants to meet Mick and Jerry. Jeannie, who Alison lives with, and Didi. Didi’s hard to explain; Didi is Didi. It’s a 1980’s hedonistic coke fuelled existence, but they all seem to enjoy every second of it.
This coke-fuelled novel came out of the coke-fuelled literary 80s, and you can tell. Jay McInerney, with Bret Easton Ellis and Tama Janowitz, formed the new Brat Pack, and this is a man good at what he does. It’s only a very short novel, you could easily read it all in a few hours, and in all honesty, if you’re anything like me, you probably will. I’ve read it countless times, but I plan to read it countless more. It’s a hilarious book, Alison is a hilarious character, and McInerney’s wit is as sharp as ever. The novel cuts to the core of a vacuous existence, but it sheds some light, and some humanity, in to it.
I highly recommend this novel, and any and all of McInerney’s work. In fact, go online and purchase this book right now. And while you’re waiting for delivery, here’s today’s homework question; what are the three great lies?