This was the second book in a row I read that featured a tangential connection to music (in this one, the adults in the novel had been in an often-referenced college band) and it definitely benefited in my esteem for that. I really didn’t like Goon Squad, so naturally I compared Modern Lovers to it, and it was so much the better of the two.
Modern Lovers isn’t a book I would ordinarily select. “College friends and neighbors deal with their grownup lives and their kids bang” isn’t the kind of summary that really draws me in, it’s just a little too cute. But I was in a situation that had me reading, like, six hours a day for a week and a half so I was chewing through books and needed my next meal. In this metaphor, the book was more like a microwave burrito, but one of the good ones. Like from Trader Joe’s.
It’s just one of those novels about mostly ordinary people in which not much of consequence happens, but it’s a novel that does it well. The three primary adult characters were in a band together in college and while they never took off, their fourth bandmate went solo and hit it big before dying young of an overdose. Two of the three remaining married each other, the last also married and they all live in the same neighborhood. They have kids roughly the same age. Those kids are teenagers with teenage hormones. Shenanigans ensue.
But you know, I liked most of the characters, even the teenagers which is pretty hard to do. It’s a nice, easy, “why not” kind of read.