November 8, 2013
The Life and Times of Lorna Rae
New Novel Offers a Handbag’s Point of View
L. Faxon’s debut novel The Life and Times of Lorna Rae is an unexpected pleasure to read. As a man, I was hesitant to read a book about a woman and her handbag. I’ve gotten silently irritated plenty of times over women fussing about their purses, and I never understood why a wallet and a pants pocket won’t do for a woman like they do for a man. But L. Faxon has won me over. Now I understand why women carry handbags—heck, I even understand what it must be like to be a handbag.
Faxon writes this novel in the third person point of view, with alternating chapters. Half of the chapters focus on a young career woman who serves as a type of everywoman with her name simply being She. The other half of the chapters are predominantly focused on Lorna Rae, She’s favorite designer handbag, although a few of the sections are told by other handbags or represent scenes in She’s closet, where all the handbags live and converse.
Let me make it clear here that this is not the kind of a book I would have expected to like, and at first, I groaned over the main character being named She, but I was won over quickly because She is a very realistic character. The book begins when She has just been betrayed at work and left her job, making me instantly feel sympathy for her and wonder where her journey will take her. Also, like She, I long for a simpler time and prefer the films and music of the 1940s and 1950s when people had better manners and there was great music. While She enjoys some of the good things in life, including designer handbags and a trip to Paris, she is never shallow. She has not had an easy life; in fact, she has battled breast cancer and experienced little in the way of real romance, so her handbags have helped to fill some of the voids in her life. She, like most of us, deserves better, so if her handbags help to make her happy, she deserves all the handbags she can get.
As for the handbags themselves, they are great fun to read about. Faxon inserts short histories of the various handbags in the book, but most of the time, she tells us how they feel when they go flying off a car seat, when they are dropped, when they meet other handbags and have interesting conversations, and when they find that another handbag is chosen for a night out on the town over them. The handbags bicker, but they are also very proud of being handbags and having a wonderful owner like She who appreciates them.
To get a taste for Faxon’s style and how she presents the handbags, here is a short passage that takes place after the handbags learn that She has left her job:
From the way the book ends, I suspect Faxon will be writing a sequel, and I say, “Bring it on!” It’s about time handbags had their say.
For more information about The Life and Times of Lorna Rae and L. Faxon, visit www.LornaRae.com.— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and award-winning author of Spirit of the North: a paranormal romance
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