Published by: Picador
Date released: 28/05/2020
Date read: 28/05/2020
Blindsided by her mother’s sudden death, and wrecked by a recent love affair, Casey Peabody has arrived in Massachusetts in the summer of 1997 without a plan. Her mail consists of wedding invitations and final notices from debt collectors. A former child gold prodigy, she now waits tables in Harvard Square and rents a tiny, mouldy room at the side of a garage, where she works on the novel she’s been writing for six years. At thirty-one, Casey is still clutching on to something nearly all her old friends have let go of: the determination to live a creative life. When she falls for two very different men at the same time, her world fractures even more. Casey’s fight to fulfil her creative ambitions and balance the conflicting demands of art and life is challenged in ways that push her to the brink.
There are not words that can do this book justice. Once again, this was a book that I devoured in less than a day, stopping only to eat dinner. I was instantly sad when I finished it, and that’s not because it’s got a sad ending, but because it means I was no longer reading it, and I want to be reading this book every day.
A story about a woman who has lost her mum hit a chord for me. As I’ve said in previous reviews, I lost my dad in 2017 when I was in my early twenties, a younger age than the main character, but the way Lily King writes about grief and loss is profoundly beautiful. It’s like she went into my heart and wrote down how it had broken.
I also bill myself as a struggling writer. I have about 35 just-started, half-finished, first drafted, second drafted fiction, non-fiction and children’s books lying around. I am hoping that one day I will finally realise what it is I am meant to write.
Lily King has managed to write an incredibly smart and achingly vulnerable main character struggling with being in her thirties, being single, and then being in a relationship, being without a mother, fearing for eviction and for unemployment. These are topics that all young women can relate to. She has managed to find the perfect balance between ending one phase of your life and beginning another.
As Confucius once said, “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realise we only have one.”