In Sloane Crosley’s Cult Classic, a woman named Lola is living many women’s worst nightmare: she keeps running into her ex-boyfriends. Even worse? It’s not an accident.
Lola is a lifelike creation. She’s smart and witty, but can also be acerbic and mean. She’s able to clinically dissect the flaws of her former partners while also being honest about her own issues. She’s not exactly likeable, but she is relatable, at least to a point.
That point is when the novel’s high-concept premise kicks into gear, and it’s a doozy. Without giving everything away, the run-ins with old lovers are being deliberately engineered by Lola’s eccentric old boss and her best friend as part of a sort-of startup. Their motives are questionable at best, but for some reason Lola’s objections never rise much beyond the odd sarcastic rejoinder. It’s there that the novel lost me, though I keep reading hoping it would get back on track. Instead, the absurdity of the premise hovered over every interaction and rendered them incomprehensible.
Occasionally the force of Crosley’s talent shone through in Lola’s crackling wit and insightful observations about dating and romance. But these flashes are not enough to propel the reader through the gobbledygook of the premise.