lip lit: laura buzo, holier than though
Holier Than Thou is a perfect encapsulation of life in the twenties. The indecision, the fleeting desires, the boyfriend, the old friends and the job you’re not sure you like are all mixed up in this wonderfully addictive novel by Laura Buzo.
The story centres around Holly, a twenty-four year old social worker who has recently moved in with her boyfriend Tim.
With a father dying from cancer, a job as a mental health social worker and the rejection from the friend you only find once in a lifetime, Holly has plenty of reasons to despair. Weirdly, it isn’t a saddening read. Somehow Buzo managed to balance the good with just the right amount of bad and the novel ended up at bittersweet with a slight tinge of optimism.
It captures the hope for romance as well as the disgust when someone you thought of as a friend wants that something more from you – of all people! While this will serve as a trip down memory lane for some, for others the events will be all too relatable.
The prose twists and turns, never dwelling for too long on a single thought. Rather than be jarring, it is instead particularly good at keeping your attention.
There is never just one thought in our minds, never just one story playing out in our lives. The telling of this story perfectly reflects that and adds more. It is complicated yet it flows easily. I tend to avoid this kind of book assuming it will be soppy and pathetic – harsh, but it’s what I do – but this book gave me a pleasant surprise.
It is funny, charming and interesting all in one. Despite the title, Holier Than Thou it doesn’t touch on religion and there isn’t anything too controversial in here. It is about growing up and realizing that not everyone will stay the same. While it sounds simple, this book acknowledges the complexities of day-to-day life and explores them through Holly. Plus, it isn’t soppy at all – big bonus.
It’s an easy read not a literary masterpiece and it’s all the more enjoyable for it. It’s the kind of book you can look forward to having next to your bed at the end of the day. Although, many of the chapters will end leaving you hungry for more so unless you have supreme willpower, it won’t take you long to read.
Holier Than Thou, Allen & Unwin, $17.99