I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
This book was somewhat of a roller coaster ride for me. As I first began to read it and was introduced to Elizabeth, the protagonist, my eyes rolled so hard I thought I was going to injure myself. My knee jerk reaction was “here is this spoiled whiny princess who can’t just get her sh*t together”. That really was just a knee jerk reaction. The more I read of the book, and it really does suck you into her life, the more you realize there is much more nuance to her character. As you watch her unravel and try to hold herself together through running, through stolen afternoons reading in a coffee shop, or going to a movie, the layers to her story shine through and you realize. “Hey, I know this person or even perhaps I’ve been this person.”
When we meet Elizabeth, she and her husband and are gathering the paperwork to file for bankruptcy due to hundreds of thousands in medical debt mainly from the births of their children. Elizabeth is a Phd in Literature, who teaches kids in a charter school. The dream of full professorship at a University is a ship that has long since sailed in this era of Adjunct Professors. Her husband’s job crashed and burned in the Lehman Bros. take down and he is building his own contracting business, but that is touch and go.
Through this whole financial and legal mess, Elizabeth, keeps tabs on her best friend from her idyllic childhood, a time she acknowledges of embarrassing wealth and privilege. The information she sees is of the carefully curated Insta- variety and when Elizabeth finally reaches out to her almost on an impulse, obviously real life does not match. The novel tracks Elizabeth and her relationship with her husband, her friends, her co-workers, and her parents as she struggles to hold on to a life that resembles something she wants.
This novel turns out to be so relatable and realistic. Many people, who were raised even solidly middle class, now find themselves in a position where even a cup of coffee with a friend is a stretch to the budget. As the title of the novel implies, there is this state of constant want because you can’t have even simple pleasures, there is never enough money or time or energy. And that is juxtaposed with a feed of Insta-culture letting you know that others are managing to have it all, in perfectly curated lives. Great Read!