Full disclosure: I read this, apparently, in 2016, and wrote a little about it. Then I read it again a couple of months ago, after reading somewhere that Jenny Offil and I are the same age and went to the same university (not at the same time) — totally irrelevant, but it brought me back to the book. Came to actually post something, and saw some more evidence of my shitty memory. Soooo two of the following paragraphs are new. If this doesn’t count, that’s cool. Just breaking the seal for 2023.
It’s very possible the reviews with words like “tedious,” “pointless,” and “unskilled” colored my perception. This is why I try to avoid knowing too much going in. Anyhoooo I really liked Offil’s first book, Dept. of Speculation, and looked forward to this. Too much, maybe.
The sense of impending doom this time is all too familiar, not dependent on a particular relationship or mindset. 2016 election and the growing certainty that it is as bad as we feared…worse even. Plus climate change. Plus all of the usual family and personal shit we all have to negotiate.
For me it’s a series of moments, some profound, some deeply interesting and even moving, but they didn’t quite add up to the pleasing whole that D of S did, for me. Perhaps I just didn’t like Lizzie too much. Perhaps she hits a little too close to home, as someone who seemingly hasn’t found her thing, and is playing along at all of the grown-up stuff.