Jia Tolentino has put together a collection of essays that span from modern womanhood to the Internet. The essays cover a myriad of topics, yet Tolentino found a way throughout all of her essays to find some throughlines. At the end of the collection, I felt that I had read a full complete collection despite the huge swath of topics. Tolentino very, very clearly sees many problems in the world and is able to articulate those issues clearly. She makes connections between problems in this world that I don’t think I would have seen or made on my own.
Overall, the essays do sometimes feel overly long. Tolentino is very clearly well-read and has done the research. Tolentino backs everything up with other sources and articles. It makes the overall message of the essay strong, however it does cause the essays to run long. There is very, very frequently a pay off at the end of the essay, but not on every piece.
The best essay was “Ecstacy” in which Tolentino connects her experiences at a very large baptist church in Houston (which I’m certain in Second Baptist Church, though Tolentino does not ever name the church) to her experiences with taking the drug ecstasy and to the hip hop scene in Houston. This is the one essay that I felt was too short, but maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much: Tolentino left me wanting more. For sure I connected with this piece as another Houstonian who had similar experiences at a different megachurch.