The Lay of LaLa-Land
“This is how my life is now and here is why” is quite an appropriate way to begin the story of The Lay of La La Land. Lenny, the main character, experiences a series of unusually unfortunate mishaps in this narrative and makes some strategic, compensatory decisions that metamorphose his character by the story’s end.
Lenny seems to characterize himself as a complete loser who could not possibly contribute anything at all to society. Beyond his seemingly numerous health ailments, Lenny feels that he is barely surviving being a social outcast; his many thoughts, which narrate the story, reveal that his chances of ever finding a date seem impossible, especially since even approaching a female is quite terrifying for him. Readers can only make the conjecture that his weaknesses cannot be helped, mostly because of the terrible sins his father has committed. Moreover, he behaves as if he only deserves the worst fate from being the son of such putridness.
The main setting in A.Y. Miles’ The Lay of LaLa-Land takes place in Lenny, Chet, and Grock’s dormitory, where Lenny is cajoled, mostly by his new roommate Grock, to go out into the world and have some fun. Chet and Lenny appear to be mesmerized by Grock’s general carefree spirit and are particularly impressed by his ability to attract and conquer the opposite sex. To sharpen his social skills, Lenny agrees to approach a beautiful, angel-like young lady–at least that was what he thought, initially. Unfortunately, he finds out that this beautiful angel, Fortune, with whom he feels he is possibly in love, has some worldly ambitions that are, frankly, sexually immoral. Then things get very dangerous for Lenny as he struggles against loving Fortune, despite her imperfections, saving her from herself and saving his own life. The events that transpire are deliberately shocking. Craftily narrated from the main character’s point of view, this novel expresses the innocent thoughts of a young college student who has very little confidence in himself or his world. It shows an almost perfect example of how the artful use of plot development to recreate a character can produce a great work of literature. Although I wanted to learn much more about the elusive Fortune and to understand her motivations, I was impressed with how the author characterized Fortune’s “business partners.” These two men are mean, absolutely scary, and definitely add to the excitement. Additionally, A.Y. Miles uses humor masterfully, in my opinion, to provide comfort to readers as they come to terms with the not-so-favorable twists and turns and inevitable disasters. I am hoping for a sequel.
The Lay of LaLa-Land was undoubtedly an extraordinary page-turner.