Excerpt from The Quality of Life Report by Meghan Daum, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Quality of Life Report

by Meghan Daum

The Quality of Life Report
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2003, 309 pages
    Jun 2004, 320 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Faye was looking particularly reptilian that day. Her eyes were reduced to mere slits underneath a puffiness that suggested her weekend at Donatella Versace's South Beach villa had involved some kind of head-on collision that activated a set of air bags beneath the sockets. She leaned back in her chair and draped a lamppostlike leg over her desk, knocking over an ashtray and a stack of videotapes and causing her shoe to fall off and reveal a set of contorted blackened toenails.

"Lucinda!" Faye screamed, though I was three feet away. "I have received a memo from upstairs."

"Are they firing you?" I asked. We had this sort of relationship. Sparring, playful. Though there was always the possibility that she would lunge unexpectedly, like a big cat.

"They want to move the show in a new direction," she said. "They think it's too provincial, too New York centric. They want us to cover issues of concern to average Americans. Maybe even humanitarian issues. Of course, I find that profoundly uninteresting. But I have no doubt that you can tap into the psyches of fat housewives in trailer parks."

"Actually I've always thought the show was too limited," I said. "Are we going in a more, like, Frontline-ish direction?"

"Don't get uppity," Faye said.

I caught her noticing my shoes, which were scuffed and from Banana Republic and utterly beneath her standards.

"I'm sending you to the Midwest," she said. "There's a very dangerous drug there that women are doing to help them lose weight and clean the house. Basically it's coke for the Payless shoes set. It sounds disgusting and I'm sure you can find a bunch of disgusting people who will talk on camera and give the show a dose of realness."

She handed me a story memo.

To: Up Early Exeuctives
From: Faye Figaro, Senoir Producer
Re: Methanfettymean
Meth: Its Cheep, Its a Quick High, and Its Endangering Womans Lives
Had lunch with Roseanne (Barr? Arnold? whatever) the other day to brainstorm about shows new direction and she told me about a new drug that is priminont in the midwest United Stats. It's called methenfetimyne and it is basicly a much, much more potant form of the "mothers little helper' upper that was previlant in the 1960s. It is made in labs that are often in farm houses and then sold to averge, normal women who want to lose wieght or just have more engery to do housewrk or care for the kids. The main thing here is that it is very, very common and extremley dangerous and people die from it. I would like to send Lucinda Trout, who has been doing a good job as Lifstyle Correpsondent, to invesigate this alaming trend.

"You had lunch with Roseanne?" I asked.

"They set it up," Faye said, lighting a cigarette and snaking her foot around under her desk in search of her lost mule. "She's actually quite brilliant in her way, given her cultural context."

"Where would I have to go?"

"Hello?" Faye yelled. "That's your job. Figure it out! You're going on Friday."

"For how long?"

"I don't know, a week. Make it in depth. They're serious about this getting serious thing. But no fat people, please. I'm not throwing all our standards out the window."

Faye softened as the nicotine worked its way through her nervous system. She slid her foot into her shoe and returned her leg to the desk.

"So how are you, Lucinda?" she asked, turning suddenly empathic. "Are you 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.

From The Quality of Life Report by Meghan Daum. Copyright Meghan Daum 2003. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher Viking Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.