*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Juliet Lapidos
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Anna Brisker is a 29-year-old graduate student in English at Collegiate University who can’t seem to finish her dissertation. Her project: an intellectual history of inspiration. Anna, whose academic prowess has never before been in question, for the first time, has found herself utterly and truly uninspired. Rather than work on her thesis, she spends her days eating strawberry Pop-Tarts and wandering the streets of New Harbor in a state of perpetual procrastination. It’s amidst this unnerving stasis that Anna meets and strikes up a tenuous friendship with Helen Langley, a strangely compelling, free-spirited woman with a penchant for rare book forgery, who just so happens to be the niece of the legendary short story writer Frederick Langley. Freddy quickly penned three wildly successful collections as a young man in the 1960s, then published exactly nothing for the rest of his wayward, hermetic life. Inspired, uninspired, potentially reinspired-a perfect case study for Anna’s dissertation, and one she simply cannot pass up. But as her initial fascination with Freddy Langley and his notebooks blooms into zealous obsession, Anna finds herself falling irrevocably into the criminal machinations of his sole living heir.
This review is going to be short and sweet because I fell solidly into the feeling of indifference by the time I reached the end. I was intrigued by this story because I was drawn in by the story of an English graduate student struggling to find inspiration to complete her degree. The academic vibes, cozy and studious, were exactly the feeling I was looking for as the leaves started to turn colour outside and the temperature dropped. This story wasn’t bad–I connected to the protagonist, feeling a bit of a kinship with her along the way. And I enjoyed sinking into the familiar world of academia as Anna delves into her research and her Pop-Tart fueled procrastination sessions.
However, I didn’t find it to be a particular page turner. I walked away from this book knowing that I enjoyed it, but not having anything particular to say. I felt a bit lukewarm about the plot and I found the secondary characters to be less interesting and more distracting from Anna’s own internal struggles. I struggled at times even with Anna’s own moral conundrums. I found this story to be, in fact, a little bit sad. While there were some humorous bits throughout, I found this story to be sad in the end. I do think that I’ll hang on to my copy and take another look at it in the future to see if it sticks any better the second time around.
Give this one a try and see what you think! Reviews are mixed and I’d be happy to hear another opinion!