The Quality of Life Report

The Quality of Life Report

by Meghan Daum

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142004432
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication date: 05/25/2004
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.14(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Meghan Daum, author of the essay collection My Misspent Youth, has contributed to numerous publications that include The New Yorker, Harper's, Vanity Fair, Vogue, O, GQ, and Glamour, as well as to National Public Radio's Morning Edition and This American Life. She was also, for three years, a columnist for Self.

Read an Excerpt

Open Arms, Open Minds

ou well?"

"My rent is being raised to twenty-one hundred a month," I said.

"Can't you ask your parents for money?"

"Faye, you know my parents are retired schoolteachers."

"Well, then I guess you'll have to move to Queens," she said. "Can you redo this memo for me?"

I took the memo and got up to leave.

"Can you pick up my ashtray?" Faye asked.

"Faye, I'm not your assistant anymore."

Faye was on her fifth temp in fourteen months, a sweet woman who had made the mistake of wearing a plastic tortoise-shell headband to her first day of work.

"I don't want that girl coming in here," Faye whispered, an inch-long ash breaking off her cigarette and landing on her Palm Pilot. "I'm serious. It messes up the feng shui thing in here."

The prospect of the show's moving in a serious, more humanitarian direction slightly abated my dismay over the hopelessness of getting a raise. I went to my desk and did an Internet search on drug rehab facilities in the Midwest. I then left messages with twelve clinic receptionists in places like Missouri, South Dakota, and Kansas, seven of whom were themselves in recovery and wanted to discuss their drug abuse at length. These discussions effectively completed my preliminary research. I rewrote Faye's memo and then typed up my own.

To: Up Early staff From: Lucinda Trout Re: Methamphetamine: It's Cheap, It's a Quick High, and It's Endangering Women's Lives Methamphetamine, also known as crank, speed, ice, amp, blue belly, white cross, white crunch, albino poo, al tweakened long, beegokes, and bikerdope, among other slang terms, is a powerful psychostimulant that causesincreased energy, appetite suppression, insomnia, and, when used over a long period of time, permanent brain damage and possibly death. Once associated with railroad construction and factory workers, meth is now the only drug in the United States that is abused more readily by women than by men. Today it has reached a purity level that makes it up to 80 times more powerful than the crystal meth of the 1960s and 70s. Labs are often set up in abandoned farmhouses, where the putrid odor of the chemicals (which include common household products and agricultural fertilizers) can go undetected. This story will contain in-depth interviews with articulate, wholesome-looking women who found themselves sucked into the vortex of drug abuse and despair. I also envision long shots of cornfields and big sky (evocative of the paintings of Andrew Wyeth) with slow pans (underscored by Aaron Coplandesque music) across rustic farmhouses that belie the illicit debauchery festering inside.

The first person to call me back was Sue Lugenbeel. She was from some place called Prairie City and ran something called the Prairie City Recovery Center for Women. She said she had subjects for me. They would talk and appear on camera. She really wanted to help get the message out.

If only I had been away from my desk when Sue Lugenbeel called. If only the first clinic director to return my call had been some no-personality lout from some shabby town that I'd actually heard of and was therefore less exotic. But no. It was Sue. In Prairie City. I was on a plane with a cameraman the next morning. And from there began the end of my life as I'd known it.

—from The Qualilty of Life Report by Meghan Daum, Copyright © 2003 by Viking Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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The Quality of Life Report 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Smokler on LibraryThing 23 days ago
Enjoyed it very much.
kristenn on LibraryThing 23 days ago
This was like Kavalier & Clay in that I had to keep forcing myself to pick it back up, but then I would always enjoy it more than expected when I did. The main character screwed up a lot and in ways you could see coming, but they were also very realistic ways that hit extremely close to home. The general setting was so appealing for me too, since I also recently moved from a big city to the prairie. And I loved Daum's early non-fiction, although lately it's been more generic. The supporting cast was too broadly-drawn -- everyone was just so quirky. Plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments, however. Usually involving her boss. I tend to skim past personal growth moments, which other readers love, but she kept them moderate so that was fine.
eenerd on LibraryThing 23 days ago
A fun read, with lots of twists and turns. Fun characters, an endearing heroine, and a neat plot.
zenhikers on LibraryThing 23 days ago
I have slowly (very slowly) been making my way through the New York Times Best Books (so far I'm nearly done with 2003), and this was one on my wish list.I have to say that I totally related to this book about a young women who moves from New York to the Midwest. It was funny and smart and insightful and not too chick-lit(ish). The Midwest wasn't caricatured as a backwoods of dumb, ugly conservative people.(It's not!) And... New York was portrayed with the ridiculous and realistic touches anyone resident would recognize. Most of all the book lacks the far too prevelant cynicism that I have grown to hate in recent contemporary fiction. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read about a protagnoist that is hopeful and knowing and imperfect and resiliant.Cheers to Meghan Daum for a great first novel.
smallwonder56 on LibraryThing 27 days ago
I can understand why Amazon and LibraryThing recommendations included this book in my lists. The main character is intelligent, witty and quirky. The trouble is, I don't like her. Meghan Daum is a good writer. No doubt the plot will appeal to women in their 20's and early 30's. Speaking as a person who lives in a college town in a rural environment, I felt that it was shallow and condescending. It's pretty much impossible to love a book when you don't respect the lead character. I had to put this one down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I found it for ten cents at a library book sale, and immediately felt drawn to it from the back cover. I actually have made the opposite change from Lucinda Trout. I moved from a 500 person town to a regular sized suburb, and I long to return to my old life. I agree with the previous reviews in that Daum's writing is sometimes hard to understand. Her sentences can get too long and involve far too many different subjects, and at some points it becomes necessary to go back a few sentences to figure it out. Otherwise, I found this book to be charming and heartwarming as Lucinda searches for herself and peace of mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it, especially because I too have been regularly contemplating giving up hectic city life for a simpler alternative. I don't think middle America is my speed, but it did help me formulate my thoughts on how I might go about achieving Lucinda's goal of giving up city life in favor of small town America. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very interested in the book when I read the jacket. When I started reading it however, my opinion changed. I couldnt put it down as I felt guilty for buying it. There were times when I had to go back in the previous pages to find out what the author was talking about. It also seemed to be very choppy writing, where in one page, the language seemed very natural, and the next would be totally different. Although I normally keep all books I read, I will be passing this one on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a good (somewhat fluffy) read. I thought that Lucinda was relatable and sympathetic, and Mason was well developed. However, the peripheral characters were somewhat flat. Particularly, Lucinda's Prairie City friends, who make several appearances in the book but are never really developed. The story was a good one, at the start of the book I was ready to pack my things and move to the Midwest, by the end I was smiling at both Lucinda¿s and my naiveté.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Quality of Life Report is a book with potential, but I found myself wanting to finish it out of boredom. I felt the characters were flat and I pictured Mason as a great big monkey rather than an actual person. The novel was frustrating for me because it had a good storyline, but lacked in character and wit.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! A must-have book for anyone who has ever considered the pursuit of a more simple life. Daum really has a way with words. Although the book is a little slow at times, it leaves you dying to find out what's going to happen next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was full of genuine emotion and really pulled me in from the very beginning. I found myself laughing out loud at times while reading this book. The main character, Lucinda, was written so well--she was witty, smart and I found myself wishing I knew this person. It's the perfect summer read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Summer's not even half over so if you're looking for some books to take to the beach, add this one to your list. The Quality of Life Report is a fun, witty book by an author with a crisp, easy to read writing style. I especially recommend the book to young, single, urban professionals (or those who used to be) who occasionally wonder what it would be like to leave their hectic lives behind for something simpler. Lucinda discovers that you don't always find what you expect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is well written and highly enjoyable. Anyone who has ever dreamed of a change in their 'quality of life,' or actually taken the plunge to achieve a better quality of life will be able to relate. Funny, wry, thought provoking - all around a lot of fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a native Californian who just recently moved to the Midwest I just about burst a seam while reading The Quality of Life Report! Lucinda's (the main character) challenges with adjusting to Midwest values and somewhat slower pace are recounted in a wry and sometimes painfully honest voice that will stike a resonate with anyone who has ever been brave enough to leave their comfort zone. This novel is a quick, easy and hilarious read for any season. I highly recommend that you buy a copy for yourself and all of your girlfriends!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great!! It made me laugh and she writes so that you feel like you are experiencing it along with her. I highly recommend this book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading The Quality of Life Report. It'll have you laughing and thinking. Meghan Daum has created a perfect voice for Lucinda Trout. Great summer reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in a week, and with a 6month old at home I find that a great feat!!! I found myself looking forward to bedtime (and not to sleep for a change!) so I could put the baby to bed and read. This was a fun, quirky book. Gave me the opportunity to escape my life and jump into one that is more crazy than my own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found myself cheering for Lucinda. This is a great, uplifting story, where you really care for the protagonist. It's laugh-out-loud funny in places and so easy to read. I couldn't put it down.