Reviews - Quality of Life Report
"Daum's winning first novel (after the 2000 essay collection My Misspent Youth) depicts the transformation of Lucinda Trout from a semisuccessful, 29-year-old New York City television morning-show reporter into a full-blown Midwesterner. She flees the big city (and her tiny apartment and domineering, illiterate boss) for wind-swept Prairie City, a smallish town full of affordable real estate somewhere in the flyover zone, promising to send back a series of TV segments dubbed "Quality of Life Reports," intended to demonstrate that wholesome, smalltown life still exists. But once she settles in, she finds all is not necessarily as expected in the heartland: the locals, though well-meaning, don't live up to the clich‚ (nearly everyone has multiple children by multiple partners; a local lesbian singing duo calls itself Estrogen Therapy) and Lucinda manages to produce only a handful of dreadful dispatches. Instead of advancing her career, she surprises her cynical self by shacking up in a remote farmhouse with an irresponsible, faux-Sam Shepard type while helping to care for his three kids, and trying to make it through a long, cold winter with an inadequate car and little money. Though it sounds grim, Daum never lets it get maudlin, and Lucinda's determination to make everything work-the farm, the man, the kids, her career-makes for some brilliant flashes of comedy. By the end, Lucinda may not have found love, or necessarily a better life, but she does learn to relax a bit and take things as they come. Though the love story occupies center stage, this is not mere chick lit, and men will enjoy it, too. It is a confident first novel, full of wit and deft social criticism, often very funny and frequently wise. Daum is a rising star."
"Not since Bridget Jones's Diary have so many women raved about a novel's author -- and her heroine."
-The New York Post
“Daum’s enormous comic gift—and her ability to use it in the service of fundamentally serious issues—is an unexpected delight.”
-The New York Times Book Review
“Daum's essay collection My Misspent Youth (2001) established her as a thoughtful and terrifically gifted writer, and her first novel lives up to that promise. Lucinda Trout, 29, is vaguely discontented with her tiny, mouse-infested apartment in Manhattan and her job as assistant producer for a local morning television show. When her waspish, trend-obsessed boss sends her on assignment to Prairie City, USA, Lucinda thinks she's been handed the solution to all her problems: if she can get away from the pretensions and sky-high rents of New York, she can experience real life among real people (preferably in a spacious, yet cheap, apartment). The novel follows Lucinda to her new home in the Midwest, and what transpires is much more than a typical fish-out-of-water story. Real life turns out to be complicated, and Daum raises big questions in her bracing, funny novel. At once hilarious and wistful, it's such a pleasure to read that after you turn the last page, you want to start over from the beginning and read it again.”
“A crisp, wisecracking voice . . . An admiringly nuanced view of the American heartland.”
-The New Yorker
“Funny, literate . . . this is a surprising, entertaining and often touching story of a single woman lurching into her thirties looking for love and fulfillment, but mostly just finding herself. Top quality.”
"Meghan Daum has written a stunner of a book - outrageously perceptive, unexpectedly poignant, and most of all incalculably funny. I found myself chortling aloud in my bed as I read it, amazed at its take-no-prisoners attitude to all that passes for a hip inhabitation of the world. The Quality of Life Report is everything that touted novels by young urban women are supposed to be but generally are not: original, wise beyond its years, and absolutely true to itself. Daum's is a glistening talent, one that leaves most of her contemporaries - male and female - in the dust. What can I say? Here's a novel for the ages."
“The wisdom is hard-earned, and the journey, while unfailingly droll, is heartbreaking and profound.”
"As hilarious as this novel is, its core is hard-won wisdom. Writing that appears this effortless can only be accomplished by the rigor and magic of a truly gifted novelist."
-Melissa Bank, author of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
“Daum has a charming, breezy style and a pretty wicked sense of humor . . . The Quality of Life Report is great fun.”
|The Quality of Life Report
BUY IT NOW AT ANY OF THE FOLLOWING OUTLETS