Erica K. Cardozo
April 19, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Depth Takes a Holiday: Essays From Lesser Los Angeles

Current Status
In Season
Sandra Tsing Loh
Nonfiction, Pop Culture, Essays

We gave it an A

Although ostensibly the essays in Depth Takes a Holiday: Essays From Lesser Los Angeles explore the lifestyles of the neither rich nor famous semi-young folk of L.A., under-40s everywhere will relate to these tales of pain and woe (such as having to shop at Payless Shoes). Also among Tsing Loh’s more than 30 motifs are the appeal of Baywatch; the joys and sorrows of take-out food; Club Med; temping; adult-education screenplay-writing courses; cybersex; multiculturalism; single-galdom; and the Faces International catalog. All the pieces are terrific: intimate, acerbic, and despite the volume’s title, subtle and perspicacious — and really, really funny. A couple that stand out as the definitive chroniclings of a generation: a socio-anthropological analysis of IKEA, the furniture emporium frequented by various classes of dumpies (downwardly mobile professionals), and a riff on bachelors over 30 who end up developing fruit-peeling rituals and using shoehorns. By the end, it feels less like you’ve read an essay collection and more like you’ve just had a long, fabulous phone conversation with a witty, insightful pal. Get off your Ilsbo (a couch from IKEA) and buy this book.

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