But there is always something a little detached about Lola, even as she sweats through pancake makeup and tight fishnet stockings, panics about going outside, plans yet another diet, or worries about her parents dying. We never really get under her skin. She keeps the reader at arm’s length by telling us how she feels rather than showing us:
"Lola felt bad. She couldn’t believe Renia’s response to the news that she was leaving the man who, Lola thought, Renia had possibly, initially, hoped she would not marry. She really hoped that her mother wasn’t wishing she had died in Auschwitz." (130)
The result is an odd deadpan quality. However, it doesn’t hurt the novel. Instead Lola comes across as droll, peppering her slightly naive demeanour with rather intense and poetic observations about her parents’ pain:
"For Renia, the future had changed. Overnight. It had spun on its axis and cracked and crazed adn fractured. It was split into pieces with fissures and chinks and splinters. Overnight, everything had changed. One minute Renia was a beautiful and studious teenager. The next minute she was, like all the other Jews of Lodz, a bedraggled prisoner, imprisoned in a universe bereft of sustenance of almost every sort." (166)
The same quiet, almost detached insights apply to her perception of the rock stars she meets. Lola isn’t dazzled or even excited by them. Instead, she gives us a very down-to-earth picture of interviewees such as Brian Jones, who is so stoned that when she asks him whether he thinks the world is changing, he checks his pockets and indicates that he doesn’t have any spare change. Then he promptly nods out. She’s proud of Cher, even though she never gets back the rhinestone encrusted false eyelashes Cher borrowed. Lola wonders whether John Weider’s parents minded him being in a rock band. She argues with Mama Cass about who is fatter.
Overall, Lola Bensky is a funny, easy to read novel, which conceals its pithy story about healing and transformation in funky fashion, rock and roll gossip, and a great deal of verve.