Review

Don't You Forget About Me

by Jancee Dunn

Lillian Curtis is 38 --- and she's got the world on a string.
She produces a talk show for a Virginia Graham wannabe, Vi Barbour,
a lively senior with a penchant for loud nostalgia. Her husband is
a nice guy; their relationship has lost some of its spark, but most
nights Lillian is happy to crawl into her fluffy pajamas and
slippers and lock her door against the craziness of Manhattan. But
when she comes home one day to find her husband standing in the
hallway earlier than usual, her entire life as she knows it comes
to a crashing halt.

When he asks for a divorce, Lillian is lost and doesn't know
where to turn. But home is home, no matter how old you are, and off
to New Jersey she goes, to her childhood home, her parents and her
memories of growing up. How they figure into her future she doesn't
know, but this great jumping-off point is the beginning to DON'T
YOU FORGET ABOUT ME (yes, like in the Simple Minds song from
The Breakfast Club), Jancee Dunn's hilarious first
novel.

Lillian ends up going to her high school reunion. This event, of
course, drums up memories of all the high school madness that she
has stored in her mind's yearbook. But when she has the opportunity
to reconnect with her old boyfriend, Christian Somers, will there
be Cure songs playing and romance in the air, or will it be the
most humiliating event thus far? Jancee Dunn clearly remembers high
school very well, and Dunn’s attention to the wonderful
details of everything from her first makeout session with Christian
to the soundtrack of her nostalgic times is remarkable. It will
draw any reader in to Lillian's adventure with a mixture of pathos
and humanity that makes it unique.

As Lillian encounters both her younger self and hopes and dreams
by living in her old bedroom --- existing as a daughter first and
foremost to her retired parents, who have a rapid-fire schedule all
their own --- she also encounters the failed dreams and new hopes
of her high school classmates, especially those of Christian. In
her mind, he is the perfect man, but will he uphold those desires
and turn out to be all that? Lillian moves through these two very
different milieus in a surprised and yet newly-awakened state,
seeing things more for what they are than for what she wishes them
to be.

With the vivid backdrop of both her New Jersey suburban past and
the retiree's New Jersey suburban present, DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT
ME is a funny but not caustic, seeing but not searing, look at
personal history --- what it means, how it shapes who you are and
who you are to become, and how, despite the most awful of
circumstances and the highest level of pain you think you can
tolerate, life always has something else in store for you around
the corner. And, with forgiveness but not forgetfulness, those
lessons of the past can follow you into a whole new life, a
pleasant reminder of how much more you are than you ever thought
you could be.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 21, 2011

Don't You Forget About Me
by Jancee Dunn

  • Publication Date: July 29, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Villard
  • ISBN-10: 034550190X
  • ISBN-13: 9780345501905