[Reading] ➿ So L.A. ➶ Bridget Hoida – Saudionline.co.uk

So L.A. chapter 1 So L.A. , meaning So L.A. , genre So L.A. , book cover So L.A. , flies So L.A. , So L.A. 36fb20a2e5ca6 Magdalena De La Cruz Breezed Through Berkeley And Built An Empire Selling Designer Water She D Never Felt Awkward Or Unattractive Until She Moved To Los Angeles In LA Where Everything Smells Like Acetone And Errol Flynn, Magdalena Attempts To Reinvent Herself As A Geographically Appropriate Bombshell With Rhinestones, Silicone And Gin As She Seeks An Escape From Her Unraveling Marriage And The Traumatic Death Of Her Younger Brother, Junah Magdalena S Los Angeles Is Glitzy And Glamorous But Also A Landscape Of The Absurd Her Languidly Lyrical Voice Provides A Travel Guide For A City Of Make Believe, Where Even Hollywood Insiders Feel Left OutLike A Lane Change On TheFreeway During Rush Hour, Bridget Hoida Skillfully Navigates The Impossible In So LAHoida Offers Both A Satirical And Sympathetic Portrait Of Contemporary Los Angeles Through The Penetrating Prose Of Her Female Protagonist Evoking A Dynamic And Materialist Landscape, So LA Introduces Readers To The Unforgettable Voice Of An Extremely Talented New Writer


10 thoughts on “So L.A.

  1. says:

    I m excited to read this book Ms Hoida was my creative writing teacher my freshman year of high school, and to this day one of the most memorable teachers I ve ever had.


  2. says:

    The Short of It Never thought a book about the shallowness of Los Angeles could surprise me, but it did.The Rest of It Magdalena wasn t always a Botox injected, Juicy Couture wearing gal No, life before her designer water empire took off involved a vineyard in Northern California, a brother whom she absolutely adored and a simpler life complete with a tell it like it is mother But when her brother Junah dies tragically, she is completely and utterly destroyed The only way to get through it, is to transform herself into someone other than herself Maybe then she can leave the pain behind and at least pretend for a while that she isn t some pathetic creature, pining away for a brother who will never pal around with her again.Los Angeles is a lot of things to a lot of people but when you think of L.A., I bet you aren t thinking depth or an abundance of intellect Right I mean, I was raised walking the streets of Hollywood that sounds bad so even as a little kid, I saw the transparent, plasticky nature of the town itself It was bad then, but it s even worse now So, when I was asked to be a part of this tour my first reaction was a tiny cringe Imperceptible, but there However, I visited the author s website to read an excerpt and I was quite taken with her writing It was different Sharp Blunt Edgy Not predictable but shiny, like something you see on the ground that you have to pick up So, I signed up for the tour.I Am So Glad I Did.When Magdalena comes up with the idea to bottle designer water She, along with her husband Ricky, take off for Los Angeles to build their empire There, Ricky s sister helps Magdalena become the person she wants to be and introduces her to designer clothing, expensive beauty treatments and saline implants But when Magdalena begins to doubt if her marriage is really a happy one, suspicion sets in and Magdalena slowly plummets into depression where she s left wondering if she will ever be whole again.This is not chick lit It shares elements of what we ve come to call chick lit, but Magdalena is a very complex woman with real problems and although she s wrapped herself in a protective shell, the pain she feels is woven throughout the entire novel as she goes through the five stages of grief Denial, Anger, Reorganization, Depression Acceptance.At first, there is a lot of humor and name dropping Hoida sets the scene and really gives the reader a feel for L.A Even if you ve never stepped foot in So Cal, you ll have a good idea of the L.A that Mags lives in The Beverly Hills lifestyle is in full swing yet what makes it so appealing, is that you know right off that Mags isn t into it She is playing a part and between the parties and the shopping, her vulnerabilities come out in full force as evidenced by her affinity for gin and although she has some good people supporting her, none of them truly realize the severity of her depression.I really liked this book I liked it for a number of reasons but probably because it surprised the hell out of me I didn t expect to have a girl crush on Magdalena but I have to tell you, I sort of did Imagine the cuteness of Bridget Jones, the craziness of Suzanne Vale from Postcards from the Edge and the vulnerability of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany s THAT is Magdalena.I also didn t expect the story to pack such an emotional punch Her relationship with her brother and her memories of home were really quite sweet and at times, heartbreaking No matter how glitzy the lifestyle, loss is loss and when it comes down to it, we are all imperfect humans trying to make the best of it.I love it when a book surprises me in a good way and this one did just that.For reviews, visit my blog Book Chatter.


  3. says:

    This novel is difficult to categorize At first blush, it may seem like simple, trashy chick lit, but Bridget Hoida s work is so much than that In fact, I would go so far as to say that part of the brilliance of this novel, aside from the sharp prose, is ways in which it defies the usual genre and sub genres with which the publishing world seems to work.First, let me say that I am fascinated by media that represents Southern Californian culture, from 40s film noir to Pyncheon s The Crying of Lot 40 to The Real Housewives of Orange County There s something about not just Los Angeles itself but the reimagining of Los Angeles that gets me This may be because I consider myself both a SoCal and a Central California expatriate And yes, SoCal is its own culture, so different from that of Northern and Central California I can tell you this for certain as someone who grew up in Bakersfield, a mere 100 miles north of Los Angeles even the ways we talk about the freeways are different in Los Angeles and in Bakersfield And it s these subtle and not so subtle distinctions that Hoida explores in her novel.I guess that this is the thing I want to say about So L.A I want to like Magdalena for oh so many reasons And I do feel some sympathy for her as a character Certainly, there are some aspects of her character, some of her experiences I can identify with not least of all is simply her San Joaquin Valley Girl background But in the end, I may be fascinated by Magdalena, may see bits of myself in her, may even feel some sympathy for her, but I don t like her In fact, I want to shake her, want to say, Get a grip And maybe she does get a grip by the end of the novel, or maybe not Either way, I think that part of the point is that Magdalena de la Cruz, the statuesque, blue eyed, blonde, with the Hispanic surname is an embodiment of the paradox that is Los Angeles She s than just metaphor, certainly, but she s also a metaphor for the city, for Angelino culture, for the history of California All of it comes together in this character who exasperates me but who I so want so save I find myself all too often saying that I love Southern California but that I hope I never have to live there again, and maybe that s akin to how I feel about Magdalena.I think the other significant thing about Bridget s novel is that Magdalena is not just the protagonist but is also the narrator As my students could tell you if they paid any attention at all, I m fascinated by questions about narrators, particularly the reliability of narrators Clearly, Magdalena is not at all reliable as a narrator This is made clear to us even in the opening section, titled The Story Problem, when the passage of time is so obviously skewed Magdalena herself has no clear sense of how much time has passed as she bobs in the ocean In fact, her attempt at constructing a narrative as she experiences hypothermia reminds me of Victor Frankenstein, an infamously unreliable narrator, as he too is pulled aboard a boat and makes the always perilous, dangerous attempt at reducing personal experience to simple narrative Magdalena admits her tendency towards hyperbole, towards melodrama, and we see her repeatedly manipulating others, particularly those she claims to love the most Given all this, we, as readers, are faced with the particularly challenging task of sorting out which threads of her narrative to chose to believe, which to discard, and which to take with the many grains of salt that rim our margaritas And I suppose that this too, both the spinning of story and the unspinning of story, is also part of L.A but also part of the experience of being human.At the heart of Magdalena s story is her attempt to cope with the death of her brother In some ways, this novel unfolds a bit like a mystery We read to find out what really happened to Junah, her brother, and what Magdalena s part in his death truly is, for she clearly carries much guilt for his too soon death While Magdalena s character is, to some degree both metaphor and satire of Los Angeles, the writing of Junah and his tragedy allows Magdalena to be than just these things She has depth than I might have expected because she is somehow redeemed by her devotion to her brother And yet, I question even this, to some degree, although it breaks my heart a little to admit it Because Magdalena is so manipulative and nasty, even towards those she cares about, because she seems to be existing right on the edge of sanity as she narrates this novel, because we question her in touch with reality ness, we also question her memories and perceptions, even her remembered relationship with Junah In some ways, this is the real tragedy of Magdalena s story.This is Hoida s first novel, and if this is any indicator, we can expect much brilliance to come.


  4. says:

    The construction of Bridget Hoida s debut novel, So L.A., consciously mimics that of the art form for which the city is best known the movies The book s five sections are takes, the chapter titles would be appropriate to a screenplay, the physical descriptions are vivid and detailed, and the acknowledgements pages are cleverly, I thought presented in the style of film credits And like some movies, the tone veers abruptly from comic to dramatic, and from down to earth to what planet is this it s frustrating at times, and you wonder what it might have been if it had just settled down But it s compulsively watchable or in this case, readable , and there s enough good stuff in it that you ll be interested to see what this writer director does next.Los Angeles is a city whose biggest industry is built on make believe and yes, that includes reality TV and whose related mythology is based on self reinvention, and Hoida s Magdalena de la Cruz seems to be embracing it She inhabits the glittery, status conscious, idle rich world that both promotes and feeds that myth the L.A that many people who know this city only from its entertainment products may think is the real thing, but that relatively few of its residents ever approach Unlike many, Magdalena didn t come here to act she and her husband Ricky struck it rich in bottled water, and they moved from their home in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley to cultivate this prime market But there s no question that during most of the time they ve lived in Southern California, Magdalena has been acting out transforming herself physically and behaviorally driven by deep emotional conflicts perpetuated by the sudden death of her beloved brother two years earlier.The sources of Magdalena s conflicts are gradually revealed they re also responsible for the novel s frequent tonal shifts, which I confess aggravated me at times At one point I decided Magdalena just might be an unreliable narrator I m not completely sure Hoida intended her to be although there are some self aware passages suggesting that she did , but I enjoyed the novel once I stopped fully trusting what the Bridget Hoida shows talent and promise as a novelist, but So L.A is a bit of a misfit It seems to want to be a lightweight, breezy beach read, but it s got a bit too much darkness and complexity underneath for that I found it a sometimes frustrating, deeply moving in spots, occasionally nonsensical, and consistently interestingcome to think of it, it really might be pretty L.A itself.


  5. says:

    This book talks about all of the stuff that I hate about L.A I ve only been once and it definitely was not my favorite place I m definitely an East Coast girl, who would be driven crazy by being in LA LA Land I wouldn t last that long This book is definitely about the darker side of L.A Hoida s L.A is not glamorous It s actually sort of dark, especially for the main character.The main character is great Magdalena is fascinating She comes to L.A with her husband, Ricky, as an idealistic young woman The couple owns a designer bottle water company that starts out with very good intentions and turns into something completely different, much like the owners themselves Magdalena throws herself into becoming the ideal L.A lady read blonde, blingy, and largeuh assets after her brother dies in her accident She s lost This is definitely a case where the character in the book is not very likeable I wanted to shake Magdalena so many times and tell her to wake up but you feel for them so much that you care about them I really wanted Magdalena to change and for things to work out for her She s just spiraling out of control throughout most of the book I know that it s hard to see if you are the one that is spiraling out of control but I wish someone would have stepped in Magdalena is surrounded by people who are totally oblivious though and really doesn t have anyone real in her life There s no one to be her sounding board There s no one who gives her a sense of reason There s no best friend or lover to take her aside and get her help It made me even sadder for her.I also really liked the writing Hoida has a very interesting way of writing It s both sharp and lyrical at the same time It s sort of hard to describe I loved the way that the chapters were broken up In a way, they almost feel like Magdalena is actually having a conversation with you, going back ever so often to tell you a back story or a little bit information so you can really get what s being said Magdalena s character is also very snarky and sarcastic and that definitely shines through in the writing.Bottom line This is a gritty picture of a woman fumbling towards trying to find her place in the world.


  6. says:

    Facebook.com TheBooknaticshttp thebooknatic.wordpress.com 201 edited feb 22 2013 I want to start off by mentioning how much I love this cover By far, the prettiest on my shelf.It s a racy, realistic, heart wrenching story about a girl from a quiet California town who made it big with her husband in Hollywood s favorite bottled water industry Though, with the loss of her brother, the five stages of mourning drives her into foolishness She realizes she s tried so hard to be like everyone else in L.A plastic and fake with no morals and begins to feel as if she s undeserving of all her success and great new life She begins to over think things, causing her to act out in absurd ways.This is a first point of view into a womans life who yearns to see the light of who she used to be once again, and shed the superficial mask she s been hiding behind for so long.Through insanity, infidelity, and other events, Magdalena finally breaks free of the obstacles of life, getting a grip on her life and finding happiness in the small things The ending, ohhh the ending I won t dare spoil it, but she definitely reclaimed herself A true, realistic bitter sweet happily ever after of it s own magical way, that is If you ask me, with all the chaos that stirred in this book, the ending is how any story like this should resolve in real life.I really enjoyed the main character, for all her flaws, for her honest opinions, for everything she wanted to be, so many layers to this character Hoida hits life lessons on the spot I really did enjoy this book, the author did a fantastic job with a refreshing and creative approach of telling a story There were times I was laughing, times I teared up, and times I really just wanted to reach through the pages and slap the main character around and yell DON T STOP You re so much better than that Hoida really held on to my attention, got me so wrapped up that I found myself needing to re adjust to my surroundings a few times and gather myself I hope to see work from this talented beauty in the near future Thank you for such a mesmerizing story


  7. says:

    At first glance So L.A might draw you in with its gorgeous cover It might entice you with its chick lit feel However I can promise you that what is in these pages is so much than that A mixture of dry satirical humor, and a no holds barred look at the culture that is L.A., this is a story that is hard to define What I can say, is that it is brilliant.I think it s fitting that I read this book while sitting in a 60 story sky rise in Downtown L.A Overlooking the hub of the busiest parts of Wilshire Boulevard This is the setting that Hoida chooses for her book, and it works wonders with Magdalena s story From small town girl, to big city business owner, Magdalena s point of view is a fresh and honest take of the high society that is Beverly Hills Her life is by no means perfect Sure, she has the perfect shoes, the perfect house and even the perfect nose She soon finds though, that all those things don t add up to a happy life.It s honestly hard to like Magdalena because of how exasperating she can be sometimes She is definitely a character that you want to save and slap in equal measures Trying, and failing, to cope with the death of her brother is all that Magdalena does the majority of the book However, it s definitely true to life She tries to fill the gap with things, with fake people, with fake smiles All the time falling deeper and deeper into the craziness that her life has become.In the end So L.A is about hiding from oneself About changing what is on the outside to try to compensate for what s on the inside I won t say that Magdalena s story is happy It does show how easy it is to fall into a life that isn t your own About how easy it is to feel lost, but hide it from the outside world Briget Hoida s book may look like chick lit at first glance, but it s infinitely than that I loved it, and I think you will too.


  8. says:

    So L.A exists in the thin space between exploring the culture of Los Angeles and exposing it, maybe passing off small judgments but never offering outright condemnation, at most snickering behind the fake tanned back of the city s inhabitants Because it s not about what L.A is to her proudest citizens, but what it is to an outsider using its artifices to hide from herself It s the story of grief, glitzed and glamorized.The narrator is in the middle of grieving for and not really recovering from the loss of her brother, battling her own feelings of guilt at the expense of her business and her marriage, immersing herself in the alien, uncomfortable culture of L.A., and transforming herself literally physically into a version of that alienness in an attempt to distance herself from her loss.The psychological realism of the grief is impeccable, nailing the ups and downs of the emotions, especially considering the particular form of death involved, the fall in all its incomprehensibility The little moments of coping or failing to cope rang true in a fulfillingly uncomfortable way In the end it s a story about hiding from oneself, and that s a theme that applies beyond the personal tragedy of the novel, something we ve all been familiar with since the time we first wanted a pair of cool shoes or the latest hairstyle The novel works within itself and expands beyond itself, and ends with a sentence perfectly designed to both satisfy and leave you longing Because what s one without the other


  9. says:

    So L.A is a book that can probably be interpreted many ways, depending on how you want to view Magdalena For me, I saw her as a very fractured heroine and she was probably broken long before she got to L.A.She s not what you d expect her to be, but then again, none of the characters are She s part of a water empire, only she s not really working at that, her husband, Ricky is She s busy doing nothing, or rather the nothing that are L.A things, shopping, changing her body and face etc On top of all of that, she s grieving the loss of her brother who died in a rock climbing accident that was partially her fault.Magdalena s story is told in scenes, like a script but in prose form Its very easy to read and it can be devoured like candy in one sitting.What draws you in his Magdalena She s So L.A in all she does, from stalking her shrink to crashing a vintage Vette into a billboard Readers won t identify with her, I mean how many of us have a million dollar water empire and can afford boob jobs But they will feel sorry for her She wants She really loves her husband, even though her marriage is crumbling for reasons other than the one she suspects She s also a little bit crazy.Don t expect chicklit out of this book, because it really isn t that It is satire disguised as chicklit A worthy read for your couch or one of the last days at the beach, unless of course you are in CA


  10. says:

    A very contemporary novel with a witty, jaded and volatile narrator in Magdalena who must cope with her feeling of guilt over the death of her brother Junah, and her growing estrangement with her husband Ricky Magdalena wins you over with her fast paced narrative voice, even as you shake your head over her self destructive behavior Magdalena participates in the unique pageantry of the Angeleno elite cosmetic surgery, disposable cars, alcohol on tap at all times and yet her commentary can be derisive and self mocking, and all this is juxtaposed by well placed flashbacks of Magdalena s wholesome family life, and her life with her husband before they started a successful business The poignancy of Magdalena s grief and her struggle to understand the direction of her life provide the main drama in this book.I was drawn into the story by the writing style of the author which is brilliant and vivid the author has great ability in fleshing out her characters in words The sometimes outrageously decadent behavior of the characters can be tiresome, as I think may be the point, and Magdalena s neurosis can also be grating as the novel goes on, but the resolution of all the plot threads is marvelously well done I am perhaps not the best target audience for this story, people who are interested in flawed characters and how they work through their problems, as well as contemporary reads will find much to enjoy in this novel.


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