L.A. Woman: A Review

Esme Lee

Originally published in 1982, L.A. Woman, is one of Eve Babitz’s earliest novels prior to its re-publication in 2019. Known for basing her fiction off of her  personal experiences and surrounding world, Babitz wrote this story no differently. It stars the tall, blonde, and gorgeous Sophie, a California girl born and raised who never grows out of her love of Hollywood, and Lola, her trusted family friend and mentor. With a writing style very different from any other author, the timeline and characters throughout L.A. Woman are forever changing. To me, this format (or lack thereof) made it difficult to comprehend all that was going on, and took me longer to finish than you would expect of the thin, 160 pager. That being said, it was still captivating. The beauty and care our narrator, Sophie, uses in her descriptions of her friends, family, and home force you to romanticize your own life along with all its faults. Sophie, in no way claims to be a saint, and she isn’t, which offers a refreshing perspective that is often not seen in a protagonist. Lola’s wisdom and age contrasts Sophie’s young arrogance while still showing their similarities. Nothing in the book reads as fabricated or false. Each anecdote seems genuine, despite how far from an average American’s life  really is; to Sophie and Lola, it’s simply just living in Hollywood. Little moments like the first time Sophie gets drunk or Lola’s past employment as a dancer are highlighted beautifully. It is no question that Babitz herself was a fascinating woman with an enticing life of her own, but her ability to write the perspective of a woman of any time, location, or upbringing is really magical.