Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Snapshot Book Review: In the Drink

In the Drink: A Novel In the Drink: A Novel by Kate Christensen

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I actually really liked this book, but mostly because I could so easily relate to it at this point in my life. It was one of those "perfect timing" books. The protagonist, Claudia, is frustrated with her life in NYC. She lives in a shanty of an apartment; she eats, drinks, and spends money irresponsibly; she is pining after her male best friend who she is sure does not feel reciprocal interest; and most of all, she is terribly dissatisfied with her work. Her feeling of futility with life comes through Christensen's words like a disease, and it is a disease I fear I have caught at least once-a-week. She feels better than her current station in life--or, rather, the workforce--but she also feels trapped within what she is able and permitted to do.

Honestly, I can imagine the frustration of ghostwriting someone else's novel, which is why I would never agree to do it. Claudia is trapped in the cloak of invisibility, and that cloak easily translates itself into insignificance. The most poingnant scene in the book is one in which she leans out over the subway tracks and imagines invisible hands pushing her in front of the oncoming train. Anyone who says they haven't experienced a moment like this would be lying.

All in all, the book is no literary feat of excellence; the plot lacks "drive" and the characters (except for Claudia's employer Jackie, who is quite distinctive in a love-to-hate-her kind of way) are not particularly memorable. Still, I related to this book, and all of the setting details that placed it in NYC were spot-on. It's worth a look for anyone intimate with NYC or who feels frustrated with his/her station in life.

View all my reviews.

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