On the road with one hot mama.
Rudeen channels countercultural icon Tom Robbins in this ribald tale of an AWOL rock star and his libidinous manager, traveling incognito and leaving a trail of scorched bedsheets across the groovily genial late-’70s American landscape. Jam Archer, an attractive, sexually voracious woman of a certain age, given to compulsive scheming and fits of off-the-cuff philosophizing, manages Danny â€œWild” Dalton, a preternaturally gifted and beautiful young rock star. When Danny suffers a mini-breakdown brought on by the pressures of fame, Jam absconds with the lad, employing a series of disguises to evade fans, the record company and Jam’s beautiful, brilliant daughter, Sarah, who carries a torch for the irresistible Wild. Jam wants the tender genius all to herself, however, and pursues an itinerary of low-profile stops throughout the South and Midwest, impromptu busking for clueless audiences, a survey of tacky motels and lots of bed-rattling sex. She also concocts a plan to keep Wild alive in the public imagination, offering a $200,000 reward to the person who finds the missing rocker–though this gambit actually seems motivated by a congenital imperative to keep life as complicated and exciting as possible. This puerile premise is remarkably rendered not only bearable but outright charming and, finally, affecting, due to Rudeen’s appealing cast of quirky characters (including the mysterious Cat, a gnomic guitarist; the stern and gorgeous Sarah, a visionary choreographer and icy negotiator; and Timothy, a melancholy failed novelist-turned-itinerant seller of giant novelty pepper grinders, to name a few) and the winning personality of Jam, who narrates the story in a voice pitched somewhere between Lester Bangs and Erica Jong. Jam’s hyperactive scheming, off-kilter but relatable observations about the world, endearing neuroses about her appearance and more-than-healthy sex drive make her wonderfully entertaining company, and the further adventures of Jam Archer–say, navigating the club scene in the go-go ’80s–would be a treat.
A sexy, funny, breathless ride.