Mary Miller, The Last Days of California, Liveright, 2014
Reviewed by JoAnna Novak
Is Mary Miller's novel, The Last Days of California, the next book you should buy, read, GIFT—TO a friend/loved one/family member/coworker/CRUSH—THE NEXT TIME YOU'RE AT A BOOKSTORE OR RiGHT NOW (#INTERNET)?
1. Let's start easy. You can't resist:
2. Forget the madeleine. Which of the following snacks takes you back (to childhood/last Saturday night/your secret pre-work stop)?
3. You're a mind reader and it's rush hour. Unfortunately, your telekinetic powers don't help you avoid a sloggy commute. You board a crowded subway car and find yourself seated next to a random. You realize you two are on the same wavelength when she thinks:
4. Do you:
5. You can't live without:
I'm sorry! Every answer leads to yes. The Last Days of California, told through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Jess as she rides with her parents and her older sister to witness the impending rapture, is that rare book that's immensely pleasurable, immensely intelligent, and immensely heartfelt. With biting wit. And snapshot observations of American life (ice cream does make everything better). Imagine white-chocolate-covered Double Stuf Oreos with the nutritional content of dinosaur kale caked with spirulina.