Sure! Literary criticism is defined as "the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature." In simpler terms, it means determining whether a piece of literature is "good" or not by analyzing its different elements. Let's apply this knowledge to Loop Group. Specifically, let's talk about theme and plot.
We can certainly commend Loop Group on its main theme: friendship between women. The theme echoes throughout the entire book between the women Maggie and Connie as they explore the Hollywood life within their families and friend circles. Sometimes Maggie carries Connie (such as earlier in the novel when Connie's most recent boyfriend dumps her), and other times Connie carries Maggie (such as when Maggie falls into depression). Therefore, throughout the flaws in Hollywood living, it is friendship between the two women that gets them through the hardest parts of life. At times, they remind me of the zany characters at the end of Chicago. The theme of friendship between women not only can be found here, but is also to be commended.
In regard to plot, the plot elements aren't truly as clear as other novels. The exposition is Maggie complaining of her life as she holds others up through her own efforts. The inciting incident is probably when Connie's boyfriend dumps her because that is the point at which the two friends become inseparable. The rising action such as camping in the backyard and taking a crazy road trip doesn't really lead to a clear climax. Maggie simply falls into depression and Connie gets her out of it. This makes me think of a famous quote by the author, McMurtry:
If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
This is certainly what Maggie is feeling at this point in the novel, but it isn't necessarily leading to a climactic moment. I guess the climax could be seen as when Connie finally succeeds in getting Maggie back on her feet by showing Maggie her own self-worth, but it definitely isn't a clear climactic moment. The falling action and resolution arise when both Maggie and Connie are in good spirits again. All in all, the elements of plot aren't as perfect as they are in other novels, but they still exist and are "okay," at least.
Using theme and plot as the two indicators in this piece of literary criticism, then, I would say that Loop Group is an acceptable piece of literature, but probably won't stand the test of time like the strikingly feminine Jane Eyre; however, it is worth reading and worth noting, especially because of its very specific Hollywood setting and its wonderful theme of female friendship.
Thank you for your answer. I appreciate your helping me understand the finer points of Loop Group.
Are you able to do the same thing for Terms of Endearment? I will be comparing critical essays on these two novels.