Ugh. Just ugh. So when I started, I realized the novel was a bit new age-y for my tastes but I figured I could deal with a slightly new age character as long it was a fun, light read. The thing, though, is that it’s a really weird read because while Blix, the old woman that sets everything up, is a charming if slightly kooky old lady, I am not sure what she saw in Marnie, the “main” character, who is boring and thoughtless. Blix says she sees herself in Marnie but there is no charm to Marnie. She simply sticks her foot in situations, and makes bad decisions.
I’m sorry, I don’t care how sheltered you are but there is no fucking way someone in their mid 20s doesn’t know that you can refer to pizza as a pie. But that’s part of Marnie’s quaint getting-to-know New York story line. Also, while the novel description makes it sound like Marnie inherits Blix’s house early on, she doesn’t move to New York until more than halfway through. While this means Blix is around longer than expected (who is the novel’s one saving grace), it also allows the reader to get to know Marnie more within her family and it’s frustrating – on the one hand, she is obviously trying to fit into a box her family has in mind for her, but she also doesn’t seem to have any better ideas or other goals. After all, she clearly wants the white picket fence and 2.5 kids from her first marriage, and after the divorce, she quickly finds herself in another relationship that would lead to the same. It’s great that Blix thinks that Marnie needs to be pushed out of her comfort zone to discover her true self, but nothing about Marnie makes me think her particular deserving, she doesn’t seem to have any natural curiosity and she treats people horribly once in New York. Not to mention that she is also kind of dumb …
The supposedly quirky supporting characters are a mixed bag. I don’t care about Patrick, I liked Blix’s older friend Lola, and Jessica was ridiculous. Her ex-husband cheated, she obviously still has feelings for him, and it would be one thing if she had frequent dramatic break downs about him to her friends, but she also badmouths him in front of her child and goes off about the dumbest things (like being mad that she ran into her ex and her son at a diner during his time rather than the ex taking him directly to his home – chill the fuck out.) But no one tells Jessica she is wrong in any of these behaviors.
Basically, what was supposed to be a charming novel about figuring out life and creating your own path fell very flat for me since it was filled with ridiculous and horrible people that make bad, hurtful decisions and don’t have enough redeeming qualities for me to feel empathetic as a reader rather than simply judgmental. I went from hatred for the characters in the middle to apathy by the end so I am not sure if that meant it got better or I was simply broken.