The first thing I’m going to say about this is don’t judge a book by its cover.
It’s cliche as hell, but it’s true.
I took one look at Jennifer Lourie’s book cover (months ago) and was like “Damn, what salacious, dirty details is she going to be disclosing in this book?” (Side note, I grew up with Jennifer. She was a year older than me in school, our families know each other from forever and our fathers play golf and poker together. Plus, we spent several Thanksgivings, sitting around our table in OOB. So, though I knew Jennifer, I didn’t really know, Jennifer. If you know, what I mean.)
I was a little nervous that I would know too much.
But then my dad started reading it. And then my brother started reading it. I’m not sure that should have been my deciding factor, but it was. So, I decided to give it a go.
I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not all about (straight) sex and dating, though a lot of it is. It actually is a story about coming to terms with the end of a significant relationship and having to dig deep into resourcefulness to survive – both emotionally and financially. It’s about friendship and traveling to new countries and stretching comfort zones. It’s about love and connection and finding happiness and self-acceptance.
Jennifer talks about her idyllic childhood growing up in Maine (loved the references) but how she also struggled with loneliness from being an only child, hence the “Alone in the Backseat” title.
She tackles her loneliness with openness and a desire to cultivate real, emotional relationships. She loves adventure and exploring different cultures (in fact, a majority of the book is about her travels abroad and the connections and experiences she has there) and she does it all without a lick of alcohol. Impressive.
As a writer, I really respect people who put it out there. It doesn’t matter if I have a different style or differing opinions on philosophy or lifestyle – people who write their stories down and put them out in the world, have my respect. It takes guts. Serious guts to talk about one’s vulnerabilities and accomplishments and Jennifer does this without playing into victimhood and with humility.
Jennifer’s writing voice is super inviting and engaging and you’ll likely feel you’re right there with her, experiencing the emotions she’s sharing and the struggles she’s determined to overcome.
It’s a testament to tremendous self-awareness to write a book this honest, reflective (and funny!). It’s a personal book that hits on a number of universal themes all in a light and juicy way. It’s a perfect beach read. No chilled wine required.