This Writers & Lovers review of Lily King's book gives you the details of this character-driven Read with Jenna book club pick. And because this is a book pairings blog “where books meet lifestyle,” I have also provided some recommended pairings for further learning.
Writers & Lovers Review of Lily King's Book
Writers & Lovers pleasantly surprised me! While the writing style was engaging and easy to follow, it was my deep relation to some of the protagonist's struggles.
It's 1997 in Boston, and Casey is a struggling writer coming into adulthood and wondering how she will ever be able to function "normally" as an adult. One of the main points of the story, and all she is coping with, are best described in my favorite passage below, in which her therapist reacts to her anxiety about handling bigger things in the future:
He nods. He scrapes his mustache with his thumbs. 'Bigger things in the future? What's bigger than this? Your mother dies suddenly. It echoes her previous abandonment of you thus making her death a double whammy. Your father proved to be incapable of being your father. You owe money to several large corporations who will squeeze you indefinitely. You spent six years writing a novel that may or may not get published. You got fired from your job. You say you want a family of your own, but there doesn't seem to be a man in your life, and you may have fertility problems. I don't know, my friend. This is not nothing.'
This sentiment totally and completely resonated with me, and it was exactly what I thought may change your way of thinking about coming into adulthood as a modern adult. I know I had the same epiphany as a 25-year-old whose life was in a state of total chaos and confusion as a law student/law grad in a new city, looking and hoping for a job while competing for them amongst all my other classmates, single with no safety net and barely a dollar to my name - yet six figures of school debt, with daily medical problems and no insurance, dealing with the death and illness of my grandparents ... and so on. At one point, I read about the types of life events that could contribute to causing stress and anxiety and realized I was living every one of them, all while feeling I was failing to be a real adult.
When books like Writers & Lovers present the unique struggles of the modern twentysomething, it's an opportunity to move us in the right direction in providing the empathy and support they need. The betterment of twentysomethings, in effect, means the betterment of our society as a whole, and there really is a lot on the plates of the modern new adult, which isn't often recognized.
Pairings for Writers & Lovers
For more like Writers & Lovers:
- Such a Fun Age presents the unique struggles of a modern Black American twentysomething, even going so far as to discuss how to ask a prospective employer about medical insurance option.
- And the grief that permeates Writers & Lovers also reminded me of Wild (the book / the movie).
- I also encourage you to think about or journal about what was difficult about coming of age into adulthood for you, or as some twentysomethings and listen to their perspectives.
If you liked this Writers & Lovers review of Lily King's book, sign up to receive The Literary Lifestyle emails for free. I'll send you *cozy* emails with themed book + lifestyle pairings to make your reading life easier & more fun. It’s like Reading Rainbow for women!