Jonathan Evison: All About Lulu

All About Lulu book cover - Rik Rawling

August 29 1979
She wore her yellow socks again. She’s getting a hole in one of them. I smelled her pajamas in the laundry room today, and I’m pretty sure that’s weird. They smelled like frozen waffles.
Jonathan Evison, All About Lulu

Published in 2008, All About Lulu was Jonathan Evison’s first novel. His profile is now rising, thanks to the successful film version of his novel The Revised Fundamentals Of Caregiving, but I prefer this first stab where he confidently established his blend of comedy and heartbreak – often in the same sentence. The novel details the obsessions of William Miller, raised as a weakling outcast amidst a barely-functioning family of bodybuilders, whose life changes dramatically when, just at the cusp of puberty, he acquires a new step-sister in the form of Lulu. She becomes the wholly inappropriate love/lust of his life. Across a fondly-recollected swathe of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s America, Evison is one of the few writers to make me laugh out loud on a crowded bus, as well as shake my head and swallow hard at the poignancy of his observations on the foibles of humanity. You’ll never have heard of it but it’s one of my favourite novels, and I used my 2014 drawing of Aubrey Plaza (who would be perfect casting for the older, fucked-up Lulu) for the above cover design.

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