Val, a brunette, has always blended in, never stood out. That is until she meets Francie, a seemingly invincible blonde who takes Val under her wing and shows her that life is for the taking.
For a novel about shoplifting, it’s interesting that shoplifting really isn’t the point. Francie teaches Val how to steal, but in the end, it’s not about stealing the insignificant items that they do from the mall – it’s about finding that Holy Grail of theft – stealing an aura.
As Val blossoms (or some might say, self-destructs), Francie starts to fade. It’s a novel about the slipperiness of identity and about betrayal on so many levels. A lot of the details are vague. There’s something wrong with Francie’s mom, Val’s older brother is dying, and a teacher disappears without explanation. But it all fits the mood which is decidedly wistful and melancholic.
A complex, fascinating novel which doesn’t go where you think it will and doesn’t bother tying up loose ends. Perhaps not the best read-a-thon read, especially nearing the final hours, but it definitely makes you think and would make for a great discussion.
THE BLONDE OF THE JOKE is out in hardcover now. Find out more about it at the author’s website.