Jancee Dunn was very clever to name her book, Don’t You Forget About Me, which was the song from the classic 1980’s movie, The Breakfast Club. I fondly remember wearing blue eyeliner, dancing to 80’s pop music and having a poster of The Brat Pack on my bedroom wall, which makes me Jancee Dunn’s target reader.
The heroine of Don’t You Forget About Me is Lillian, who was a teenager during the 1980’s.
Lillian works as a television producer and was enjoying a quiet life with her husband in New York, when he surprised her by telling her he wants a divorce, as he is bored. Lillian takes leave from her work and moves back into her old room at her parents’ home, where she starts to behave like a self-obsessed teenager. Boring.
Lillian’s High School reunion is coming up and she starts romanticising her teenage years more and more. In particular, she wants to reconnect with her old boyfriend, Christian, who was the coolest boy in school. Sigh.
The lead up to the reunion takes about three quarters of the book to arrive, but when it does, Lillian hooks up with Christian. Not surprisingly, their adult relationship is similar to when they were a couple in High School, with Christian determining when they meet and their level commitment to the relationship. Dramatic shrug.
The last quarter of the book races through the aftermath of the reunion, which is when most of the story’s action happens. As a heroine, Lillian didn’t grow as much as she needed to. Her interactions with her old friends show she wasn’t a good friend or a good sister, both as a teenager and now, and eventually it also becomes clear that she isn’t good to herself either. Eye roll.
Don’t You Forget About Me is a predictable story. I enjoyed the 1980’s references, although not enough to recommend the book to anyone except those who were teenager girls in the 80’s and who have been unable to let go of their own obsessions with leg warmers, poodle perms and the hot guy in Year 9.
I have been playing the song Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds on YouTube as I wrote this review though, and next time I have a few hours to spare and need an 80’s fix, I’ll watch The Breakfast Club. It’s a classic and the music rocks.