Quick Shots Book Review: A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing…

About the Book:

Growing up is always hard, but especially when so many think you’re a washed-up has-been at twenty-two.

Jena Lin plays the violin. She was once a child prodigy and now uses sex to fill the void left by fame. She’s struggling a little. Her professional life comprises rehearsals, concerts, auditions and relentless practice; her personal life is spent managing the demands of her strict family and creative friends, and hooking up. And then she meets Mark – much older and worldly-wise – who consumes her. But at what cost to her dreams?

When Jena is awarded an internship with the New York Philharmonic, she thinks the life she has dreamed of is about to begin. But when Trump is elected, New York changes irrevocably and Jena along with it. Is the dream over? As Jena’s life takes on echoes of Frances Ha, her favourite film, crucial truths are gradually revealed to her.

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing explores female desire and the consequences of wanting too much and never getting it. It is about the awkwardness and pain of being human in an increasingly dislocated world – and how, in spite of all this, we still try to become the person we want to be. This is a dazzling and original debut from a young writer with a fierce, intelligent and audacious voice.

My Thoughts:

After listening to Jessie Tu in conversation with Alice Pung at #MWFDIGITAL, I was compelled to read this novel and I’ll admit, my expectations were quite high.

Unfortunately, it did not measure up to the author talk.

There was far too much meaningless sex in this novel, and I’m not one to be prudish, but this was graphically explicit and quite often violent sex. Jena was so preoccupied with sex that it completely overshadowed anything else the novel had to offer. I found her interest in violent porn repulsive and really wish the author hadn’t felt it necessary to inject such vivid descriptions of it throughout the narrative.

Not for me, this one. I can’t even say it redeemed itself with character growth. Jena was pretty much the same at the end as she was in the beginning.

Disturbing content.

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing
Published by Allen & Unwin
Released July 2020

17 thoughts on “Quick Shots Book Review: A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing

  1. Pingback: The 2021 Stella Prize Longlist | Theresa Smith Writes

  2. Hm. I have a daughter who is a violinist with the reverse problem to the protagonist – my daughter wanted to be a soloist, but wasn’t good enough. (In the end she didn’t make the cut to a symphony orchestra either, but she is a brilliant teacher.) I found the wrestling with the career quite interesting. But I agree, there does seem to be a lot of mindless sex, which makes me wonder, are there people who indulge in such activity, or is the author trying to suck us in with needless titillation? An uncomfortable question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wondered the same thing all through the book. Are there actually people like this out there??? Concerning. It’s not healthy, at all.

      I can see how the wrestling with career parts would have appealed to you. If only the book had focused more on that!


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