book review: Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
Overview: Nina, at 32, only has one friend left who's single like she is. Everyone in her life has moved into the phase of marriage and kids, and Nina feels stuck on the outside looking in at a world that looks wildly different than her own. What's worse is that Nina isn't still living a youthful, single life entirely by choice. She aspires to have romance and eventually children. She's also struggling with her father's dementia and tension with her mother. She thinks she's finally hit the jackpot when she meets Max as her first date off the apps, but when he ghosts her after many months, she's back at square one, struggling to confront the state of her life. Overall: 3.5
Perfect for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Characters: 3 Nina is pleasant enough. She's funny and easy to get along with. She makes a living as a food writer and purchased her first flat in London. Though she's sometimes misguided, you can tell that she's genuinely trying her best. Nina is very much the quintessential millennial stereotype. I could enjoy reading her story, but I never got fully invested in her.
Everyone else in her life fit a certain set of parameters to contrast Nina's own journey. She's still best friends with her ex-boyfriend who she dated for seven years. He's moved on and is getting married, accenting Nina's lack of a new relationship. His character is somewhat flat, and I find it hard to really figure out why they're still friends. Then ahead of him there's Katherine, Nina's childhood friend who's already having her second baby, cultivating a life that's entirely alien to Nina and straining their relationship. On the same page as Nina is her uni friend Lola who's painted as eccentric and has plenty of dating app hacks but is still looking for love. She's held by the other characters as a sad sort of figure. With everyone in the book, I craved a bit more depth and something to push them beyond their relatively flat stereotypes for their role in the story.
Plot: 4 The plot is pretty straightforwardly outlined in the summary on the back. Nina gets ghosted, tragically, and is forced to reckon with online dating culture as well as her deteriorating friendships and father's ailing health. It follows a decently predictable arc, but there are plenty of fun and wacky diversions to keep you reading. I ended up skimming towards the end, but it still charted an enjoyable course overall as Nina learns to be more content with her current life stage.
Writing: 4 The writing is engaging and easy to read. Stylistically and in pacing, the book reminds me a lot of Taylor Jenkins Reid. It'd be a good book to use to get out of a slump for a trip through being a woman in your early thirties in London. There's nothing too difficult to navigate through, and the story is mostly fun while occasionally deviating into more serious topics.
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