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August 29, 2016

Book Notes - Jessica Anya Blau "The Trouble with Lexie"

The Trouble with Lexie

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Jessica Anya Blau's The Trouble with Lexie is an engaging and surprising coming of age novel.

ZZ Packer wrote of the book:

"Jessica Anya Blau is one of the funniest writers--EVER. No one captures the oddities, joys--and yes--the pain of modern life with such frankness, humor and sly-witted style."

In her own words, here is Jessica Anya Blau's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Trouble with Lexie:

Here are the songs mentioned in The Trouble with Lexie. It's a strange, seemingly-disjointed list, running from classical to ZZ Top. Then again, a lot of strange, seemingly-disjointed things happen to Lexie during her troublesome year.

When the Saab is towed, Lexie and Peter listen to a classical station and pretend to sing opera. They're probably listening to Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" as it has an easy, recognizable melody that would make faking an opera simple.

At Jamboree Ribs, Patsy Cline's "Crazy" is playing out of cheap, fuzzy speakers. Lexie thinks she's seen crazy enough for a lifetime with her parents.

Peter signs his texts with a line from the Jefferson Starship song, "Runaway." It's also a song he's been teaching Lexie on the guitar.

Lexie sings along with Taylor Swift on the radio. I didn't write out the song because it didn't work with the flow of the sentence, but I imagined she was singing "I Knew You Were Trouble." Of course at this point, Lexie has no idea how much trouble is coming her way.

Dear old, craggy-voiced, foul-mouthed Dot likes to tap dance to the title song from the musical 42nd Street.

Ethan pats out a tune on his thighs. Lexie incorrectly guesses he's aiming for "No Scrubs" by TLC. She remembers the time when . . .

. . . Peter slapped out the song "Like a Virgin," by Madonna on Lexie's bare bottom.

Ethan really wants Lexie to guess what song he's patting out and, finally, she correctly guesses the Commodores' "Brick House."

Lexie tells Ethan that love is only thing that matters. He says, "That's so John Lennon of you." So, let's put "All You Need is Love," by The Beatles on this list.

When they were younger, Lexie and her best friend Betsy Simms liked to listen to the Ben Folds Five. Neither one ever had a real boyfriend in high school so they hadn't been dumped by anyone (yet). Still, I imagine their favorite song was "Song for the Dumped."

Standing near the entrance of the townie bar, a man with a trapezoid-shaped beard tells Lexie he'd marry her. She thinks of ZZ Top when she looks at him and she doesn't think of any song in particular, but let's just say that if she did think of a song, she'd think of "La Grange" since it's a pretty great song and fun to have on a playlist.

When she's driving to Daniel's house Lexie sees a street sign that says Scarborough Road and hears the Simon and Garfunkel song, "Scarborough Fair," in her head.

And, because no playlist should end with the slow and elegiac "Scarborough Fair," let's finish up with "Ooh Child" by The Five Stairsteps. It's another song that Lexie incorrectly guesses Ethan is patting out on his thighs. It's also a hopeful song and just the kind of thing Lexie would need to hear near the end of the book.

Jessica Anya Blau and The Trouble with Lexie links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
JMWW interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Drinking Closer to Home
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Wonder Bread Summer
The Weeklings interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
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Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
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