Shampoo Planet

{4.5/5} “If you ever have a free moment, you might consider checking out the travel brochures for the town in which you live. You might be amazed. You might not want to live there any more.”

Tyler is obsessed with hair care products and is hoping to get a great job and make lots of money after school. He has a girlfriend, Anne-Louise, but he had a top-secret relationship with Stephanie when he was on vacation in Europe. He calls his mom by her first name, Jasmine, but she’s going through a divorce so he’s trying to be nice to her. Then Stephanie shows up.

Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland was published in 1992.

I liked it a lot. Coupland is a keen observer of the human condition, and is able to write about it in a very readable way. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but it’s wryly humorous.

The plot consists of normal everyday things, occasionally bordering on the absurd. Coupland’s use of language is unique. Here are a few examples:

  • “Is the hotel Marge? It has to be Marge. I want atmosphere.” Marge is Anna-Louise’s word describing sad, 1950s-ish diner-type places where the waitresses are named Marge.
  • In the alcove downstairs there are stalagmites of unforwarded mail.
  • The sun shone hot and tanning salonlike over the city’s shortbread-yellow buildings, its Gypsies, its smug Euroyuppies, its exhaust fumes, and its decaying ambulance vibratos.

I read Coupland’s Generation X some number of years ago and loved it.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 at 5:31 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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