This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Book Review: Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him by Danielle Ganek

I needed a book that wouldn't attempt to stand up to my last book, The Pillars of Earth. I could read "The Iliad" and be disappointed after that magnificent Ken Follett book (it took me a few days to recover from missing the characters). So I picked out a new one, a "quick" read of 277 pages vs. the 900+ I lovingly endured with Pillars.

And technically, it was quick for me. It was on the library's "Seven day loan" shelf and I challenged myself to reading it completely in seven days. Well, it didn't work out: I missed it by two days but still, a pretty good record for me.

And this one did a great job of keeping me entertained. A story of a gallery girl - sort of an administrative assistant for art galleries. This one is Mia McMurray, a wanna-be artist who struggles with her own sense of where she goes in the art world.

What inspires her, in more ways than one, is the painting by Jeffrey Finelli titled, well, "Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him". The painting is amazing, but Finelli is an unknown, um, "emerging" artist. But it depicts a beautiful 9 year old girl (his niece) with a slight smile...which mesmerizes everyone who sees it.

But it doesn't become a priceless piece of work until he is killed -- runned down by a car as he smokes a cigarette outside the opening of his art at Mia's gallery (the one she works at, not owns).

The story then delves into the business, and politics, of the art world. Finelli becomes an instant "hit" upon his death and there is a clamor of people wanting to buy any of his paintings. Then the elite of the elites, and wannabe elites, clamor for THE painting,.."Lulu Meets God".

Ganek shows how fake people can be, trying to act as though they are well-versed in the art world, with folks who are also trying to appear well-versed in the art world. Personally, if this is based on any fact of how art worlds work, I have no plans on being a part of that. It doesn't appear to be a part of "wow, this painting moves me" but more about "if I own this, I will be the envy of the art world".

But we meet Lulu, the inspiration to THE painting. And we see this world all through Mia's eyes.

Mia seems to be a sort of an 'eeyore' character: gray, just going through life with no real goal, or at least, no passion to pursue that goal. She's a depressing character without being to effective of making me feel sorry for her. Instead, I want to kick her and tell her "quit being so morose! do something with your life!"

But regardless of Mia's take on the art world, I was still entertained and am now ready to dig my heels into another rapturous novel.

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