An odd and – dare I say it? – boring little book. The book blurb – glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners – is very accurate…the short stories cover the extremely mundane lives of working-class city folk, and you’d be sorely disappointed if you went in expecting any interesting action.
I liked this sequel, but sadly it wasn’t as good as the first one (then again, how often IS a sequel as good as the original??). This book is just all over the place, introducing tons of new people, places, designer names, family ties, etc. I couldn’t keep track of them all and after a while just rolled with it and enjoyed the story lol. I was surprised by how little the plot centers on Rachel and Nick – instead of being the main focus, their story is just one of several throughout the book. Absolute favorite chapter was the notes Corinna sent Kitty about how to look and act more high-class 😂
Something that REALLY annoys me about both books though is how there’s always 1-2 women who turn into shrieking bitches over some dumb plot point about social status/prestige/reputation. In Crazy Rich Asians it was Eleanor, and in this book it’s Mrs. Bao and Colette. It’s sooo not a look and I hate this stereotype that Chinese women can just go off at any time. Why is it never one of the men, who are invariably all calm and collected?!
I really wanted to like this more! I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot on Bookstagram and I wanted a light, cute read, so this was seemingly the perfect choice for a chilly winter weekend. The book goes by quick, and while the concept still is really cute to me, the characters and constant POV flip-flopping could’ve been better.
The NY Times listed this as one of their top 10 books of 2018 so I was immediately intrigued, but it turns out it didn’t do much for me.
The book is split into two stories that seem completely unrelated, but the connection is revealed by the end. Alice and Ezra inhabit the first half, and if I resort to cliches, their relationship is “flawed but beautiful in its own way”. Ezra is a famous writer (unsubtly modeled after Philip Roth, whom Halliday had a relationship with when she was younger) and much older than she is (think 65 to her 25), and while I loved seeing their interactions, it also struck a little too close to home because Alice is around my age and Ezra is around my roommate’s age – and not only that, but our personalities are also similar to these characters’. Even if we’re good friends, it’s just too weird imagining my roommate and I in a relationship 🙅🏻♀️🙅🏻♀️
The second half focuses on Amar, who’s the opposite of Alice – he’s brimming with words and thoughts and opinions, and it’s really interesting seeing these two narrators side by side. Despite the lovely writing though, I didn’t feel particularly drawn to any of the characters, and actually got kind of bored partway through.
P.S. I love the cover though; it reminds me of this painting by Leo Chun.