This book isn’t one I would have really ever thought of picking up on my own, but it ended up on so many Best-Of lists at the end of 2013 that I went for it. By and large, I guess I’m glad I did, though it’s easily the weakest of the books I’ve read because of that. It details the romantic travails of a young freelance writer in New York City as he drifts lackadaisically through a circle of would be literary movers and shakers. It’s easy to see why all the people making the best of the year lists were taken with this book; it’s essentially about them. But it actually holds up pretty well. Waldman’s prose is detailed without being persnickety and often hilariously funny. And it’s an undeniable feat, the degree to which this young woman (this is her debut novel) has managed to inhabit this young man’s head. There are certainly moments of startling clarity in the way she writes Nate’s thoughts. The book is short at under two-hundred & fifty pages, but even at that brief length, I found myself getting a little weary near the end. It has flaws. Anyway, it isn’t a book I’m going to really recommend across the board, but I think it gets a conditional recommendation from me. Good book. 3 stars.
tl;dr – sharply written, often very funny book about the romantic travails of a young freelance writer isn’t a must read, but it’s generally entertaining and fun. 3 stars.