Love Slave by Jennifer Spiegel
Published by: Unbridled Books
Published on: September 2012
Page Count: 280
My Reading Format: Paperback copy purchased for my personal library
Available Formats: Paperback and eBook
Summary from the Publisher:
“I can write the pants off any man,” declares Sybil Weatherfield, the plucky hero of Jennifer Spiegel’s Love Slave. A literary novel set in 1995 New York, Love Slave follows Weatherfield and her strange friends as they frustrate chick-lit expectations (though they’re unaware that they’re doing so) in this uproarious, genre-breaking spree. By day Sybil is an office temp, and by night she’s a columnist for New York Shock, a chatty rag in which she writes a column called “Abscess” — a wound that never heals. Her friends include a paper-pusher for a human rights organization, and the lead singer of a local rock band called Glass Half Empty. Full of cultural detail, mid-’90s observations, and early adulthood anxieties, Weatherfield’s story of finding love ultimately casts an ironic eye on what it means to be a love slave.
When I was pursuing my Master’s Degree in the late 90s, I contemplated several options for my thesis. The one idea that I didn’t pursue that keeps popping up to the surface every so often revolved around Generation X. As an avid reader, I was curious to see what Generation X was writing about and analyze any similarities. I gave this thesis enough thought that I went out and bought several books, such as Infinite Jest and About Yvonne by Donna Masini (I later learned the author was born before Gen X). I can’t remember the others, but both of those books remain unread on my bookshelves to this day.
I bring this up because reading Jennifer Spiegel’s Love Slave reminded me of this potential project and how much I would enjoy doing it. Love Slave is the story of Sybil Weatherfield and her search for fulfillment in mid 1990s New York. The characters, the atmosphere, and the choices they made brought me back home to my early 20s. Superficially I may have nothing in common with Sybil, but I could relate to her tics, her decisions, and her search for meaning. Love Slave spoke to me about my early adulthood more directly than anything else I’ve read in recent memory. It sugar coated nothing, making the story and the setting crisp like a golden fall day.
This wasn’t simply a nostalgic journey. Spiegel’s strong writing and Sybil’s attempts to understand and conquer early adulthood made this novel. On a personal level, Love Slave did something more. It made me hungry for the academic interests of my mid 20s. It made me want to put a little more focus on what I’m reading and why. Books can inspire in many ways and Love Slave met me exactly where I am.
I certainly enjoy reading new releases and “must read” books, but what story do I want my reading life to tell when my journey? It’s impossible to read all of the books that might ever catch my eye. It’s a dilemma faced by every book lover, but it also offers opportunities. Perhaps following and writing about the novels and stories written by my contemporaries is my calling.