Bright Lights, Big City

I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve never read this book before. Outside of the Michael J. Fox film, I didn’t even know it was a book. Movie branding can overshadow the original work. If you type the title into any search engine, you have to scroll halfway down the page to find any mention of Jay McInerney. And then, Brian Koppelman came to the rescue. In one of his podcasts, he claimed it as a literary triumph so I gave it a go.

I knew little of the story or plot. I’ve never seen the film (Rotten Tomatoes scared me away). After a few pages, I realized this book is written in the second person. You are the main character, set in 1980s New York. You work for a magazine. You sniff cocaine. You party too much. You are trying to survive your friends. The city encroaches.

Books written in the second person are rare. It’s so hard to pull off. I tried to come up with another work top of mind and none rolled off the tongue. Yes, the machines can do it (Google and Bing to the rescue), but that’s not the point.

Worth reading.


  • The picture is of the sunset at Navy Pier, Chicago. A picture in New York would perhaps be more fitting. However, I’ve never lied in the Big Apple. Felt Chicago was more fitting based on the point of view.