Andrea is a single, childless 39-year-old woman who tries to navigate family, sexuality, friendships and a career she never wanted, pondering questions such as: What if I don’t want to hold your baby? What can I demand of my mother now that I’m an adult? Is therapy pointless? And at what point does drinking a lot become a drinking problem?
I’d never heard of this book until I was researching the publishing company behind The Essex Serpent, and stumbled upon this new release from New York Times bestselling author Jami Attenberg. It is billed as ‘hilarious’ and ‘wickedly funny’, and a truthful examination of how it feels to be a 21st century woman.
I can’t say I agree that this book is hilarious. It’s often witty, amusing, and once or twice laugh-out-loud funny, but it’s far too dark to be called a comedy. I understand that that’s the point, and I enjoyed the shameless examination of life as a single woman in New York, but it became more and more depressing until, by the time I finished it, I was glad to put it aside (even though it’s only a slim 200 pages).
The story is told in vignettes, a format that works well as we are provided with brief glimpses into the moments that have made Andrea into who she is, the moments that have shaped her beliefs and reveal to us what it’s like to be her.
I enjoyed Andrea as a character; she is fiercely independent, flawed, resilient, and relatable. The cast of characters around her are also realistic and deftly sketched. It is uncompromising in its portrayal of the darkest parts of a woman’s mind, and follows Andrea on her journey as she tries to figure out this whole adulthood thing.
If you’re not a fan of literary novels, this won’t be the book for you. If you’re a fan of Lena Dunham’s Girls, you’ll probably enjoy it.
Many thanks to Serpent’s Tail for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.