A Wall Street Journal Favorite Book of the Year · A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice · Named a Best Book of the Year by Vol. 1 Brooklyn and The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Emily Gould's debut novel is a searching examination of a best friendship that is at once profoundly recognizable and impossible to put down.
Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have been best friends for years, but now, at thirty, they're at a crossroads. Bev is a hardworking Midwesterner still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe that derailed her career. Amy is an East Coast princess, whose luck and charm have, so far, allowed her to skate through life. Bev is stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of temping, drowning in student loan debt, and (still) living with roommates. Amy is riding the tailwinds of her early success, but her habit of burning bridges is finally catching up to her. And now Bev is pregnant.
As the two are dragged, kicking and screaming, into real adulthood, they are confronted with the possibility that growing up might also mean growing apart.
Gould's debut novel follows Bev and Amy as they transition into their 30s and a kind of stilted adulthood. The book opens with Bev on her way to an interview at a temp agency she has dropped out of grad school before completing her M.F.A. and is stuck in the kind of low-rent existence typical of recent grads. As the novel progresses, Bev finds out she's pregnant following a one-night stand; meanwhile Amy's life, which has been insufferably charmed to this point, likewise starts to fall apart. The girls are forced to reevaluate their places in the world and their friendship. Gould's novel is admirably, readably realistic she knows these girls and the world they live in (including the omnipresence of technology and the way that it pervades relationships). In places, however, the accuracy of Gould's prose takes away from the book's ambition and reach. The plot is least successful when it strives for revelatory connections, as when Sally, a wealthy wife struggling to conceive, is slid conveniently into the narrative like a lucky puzzle piece. Still, Gould nails the complex blend of love, loyalty, and resentment that binds female friends. It is worth reading for the richness of its details (at one point, Amy is overwhelmed by the desire to put an engaged coworker's wedding ring in her mouth), and it offers new insight into the experience of young women.
Fun to Read
This is fun reading.
Really, really bad
Wow. After seeing a few items about this book, I thought it might be a Lena Dunham-ish fun summer read. OMG-no! It's SO BAD. I swear I wrote better dialog in second grade. Not funny, not clever, sure as hell not literary. The characters are cartoonish and not at all likable. I only got about 30% through it, and I just can't take it anymore. Bleecchh!