Meghan Daum, “The Quality of Life Report”

Meghan Daum is a hero of mine: In addition to having written two wonderful books, she’s a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Times and contributor to a number of publications I dream to write for some day. Daum wrote “The Quality of Life Report” after moving from New York to Nebraska. The book’s protagonist, Lucinda Trout, is a New Yorker facing a substantial rent hike who moves to the Midwest for a TV segment and falls for quaint Prairie City’s low rents and high quality of life. After convincing her boss to let her spend a year there, she also falls for an outdoorsman and things get very complicated. This is the first book I’ve read in months that really grabbed me and kept me up all night finishing it.

Published: 2004, 336 pp.
Obtained via: Birthday present from Katie
Date started: 3.24.07
Date finished: 3.30.07
What I liked: This book had all the set-up to be standard chick-lit — the spunky, late-20s journalist living in New York, the no-nonsense gal pals, the tyrannical female boss — but Daum’s storytelling style saves it. Her talent for reflection — a great quality in her columns — lets you experience the characters without the OMG dialogue in many novels.
What I didn’t like: Nothing comes to mind.
What I learned: Even the big missteps and mistakes can be worked out.
Unresolved question: Why did the citizens of Prairie City let themselves be exploited for trashy morning television segments?

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