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The Quality of Life Reportby Meghan Daum
Synopses & Reviews
In The Quality of Life Report, Daum picks up on a timely theme and embodies it to perfection in the persona of Lucinda Trout.
Jaded by a life of eating from plastic containers, dodging the feng shui in her boss's office, and reporting on thong underwear as a lifestyle correspondent for New York morning television, the thirtyish Trout is ripe for escape. So when the rent on her tiny mouse-ridden apartment doubles overnight, she heads for Prairie City, USA, to feed her own and every New Yorker's heartland fantasy in dispatches tagged "The Quality of Life Report." "Real life" is what Lucinda's after — and, if possible, a man who knows how to wield a hammer. Fantasy becomes reality (in Prairie City, deviled eggs are a delicacy and fake nails are de rigueur); but reality has surprises up its sleeve. It takes Lucinda through an epiphany and an unlikely romance in a tale that is redemptive, wickedly witty, and heartbreaking all at once.
"[A] winning first novel....Daum never lets it get maudlin, and Lucinda's determination to make everything work...makes for some brilliant flashes of comedy....It is a confident first novel, full of wit and deft social criticism, often very funny and frequently wise. Daum is a rising star." Publishers Weekly
"On the face of it, The Quality of Life Report is effervescent and companionable and may well be written off as chick lit, though it deserves better. Daum's enormous comic gift — and her ability to use it in the service of fundamentally serious issues — is an unexpected delight." Karen Karbo, The New York Times Book Review
"Daum brings a crisp, wisecracking voice to her novel... an admirably nuanced view of the American heartland." The New Yorker
"Smart, stylish and sometimes downright hilarious." Mark Rozzo, The Los Angeles Times
"Daum has written a first-rate novel." Dan Wakefield, The Boston Globe
"As hilarious as this novel is, its core is hard-won wisdom. Writing that appears this effortless can only be accomplished by the rigor and magic of a truly gifted novelist." Melissa Bank, author of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
"With a keen eye and trenchant wit, Meghan Daum skewers the obsessive narcissism and sense of entitlement that passes for real values in our media-driven culture. Always funny, often painfully so, The Quality of Life Report is more than simply satirical. It is an intelligent and heartfelt tale of a young woman, making radical choices and waking up to her life." Ruth Ozeki, author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation
"I cared deeply about Lucinda Trout, Meghan Daum's winning, hilarious, Chardonnay-seeking narrator. Lucinda and Ms. Daum herself share a flair for chic satire, plain truth, and, most impressively, a rare, wise forgiveness." David Schickler, author of Kissing in Manhattan
"Meghan Daum has written a stunner of a book — outrageously perceptive, unexpectedly poignant, and most of all incalculably funny. I found myself chortling aloud in my bed as I read it, amazed at its take-no-prisoners attitude to all that passes for a hip inhabitation of the world. The Quality of Life Report is everything that touted novels by young urban women are supposed to be but generally are not: original, wise beyond its years, and absolutely true to itself. Daum's is a glistening talent, one that leaves most of her contemporaries — male and female — in the dust. What can I say? Here's a novel for the ages." Daphne Merkin, author of Dreaming of Hitler
About the Author
Meghan Daum, author of the essay collection My Misspent Youth, has contributed to numerous publications that include The New Yorker, Harper's, Vanity Fair, Vogue, O, GQ, and Glamour, as well as to National Public Radio's Morning Edition and This American Life. She was also, for three years, a columnist for Self.
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