Thursday, June 28, 2018


Title:  Sociable
Author:  Rebecca Harrington
Publication Information:  Doubleday. 2018. 256 pages.
ISBN:  0385542828 / 978-0385542821

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Facebook:  An article called '15 images of a sloth that will just make you laugh.'"

Favorite Quote:  "It is especially important for women to write about themselves because women's narratives have been silenced over the years, just as their labors have been ignored and their feelings shunted aside. Women weren't allowed to tell stories. So I am proud to be of a generation that gives voice to women and helps to mentor and highlight different women writes as they come along."

Elinor Thomlinson is a twenty something, a few years out of college and armed with a journalism degree. She lives with her boyfriend in a basement apartment with a mattress pad for a bed and not much else besides. Instead of the literary journalism job she envisioned, Elinor is barely making ends meet, working as a nanny.

Then, jobs happen for both Elinor and her boyfriend. he is hired to write political articles and commentary for a "real" website. She is tasked with producing content - short and catch - that will go viral for, a media project of a celebrity. Think BuzzFeed and top ten lists.

Perhaps, I am not the right audience for this book. I do not see the humor in it. I find myself more inclined to tell Elinor to stop whining, grow up, and be an adult. I suppose the fact that the character elicits a reaction - positive or negative - is a positive indicator for the book. However, this depiction of Elinor does not really change from beginning to end. No growth or emotional maturity leaves Elinor as a shallow character who is more annoying than endearing.

The book casts a wide net in Elinor's life - a lot of story lines that could have developed into more. First and foremost, this book centers on Elinor's breakup with her boyfriend and her inability to get over it. That seems to fuel her competitive approach to her job, her interactions with other, her social life, and pretty much everything else. Unfortunately, if the objective of the book is a satirical look at the millennial generation, this story line does not feed into that. The story of a bad breakup exists in every generation.

In her job, two men competing professionally with each other seek to "mentor" Elinor. Essentially, they don't care about the relationship but rather outdoing each other to please their boss. Elinor allows herself to be caught in the middle. She is shown as lacking the confidence to stand her ground and take charge of her own career. Is there a sexist message here as well? I am not sure, but it does seem like they want to pat her on the head and want her to follow along. Again, the story line just highlights Elinor's immaturity and not in a humorous way. There is a moment or two (as in the quote above) that I think more may be coming, but it does not.

Elinor's friendships, the one with her "best" friend in particular, seem to lack sincerity and emotion. Strong, meaningful friendships exists between women of all ages and generations; these friends build each other up and sustain each other through all that life brings. Most of all, they tell each the truth, whether or not the other wants to hear it. That is the heart of a true friendship. It seems sorely lacking between Elinor and her friends.

Satires can be biting and funny. For me, unfortunately, this book becomes about unlikable characters with situations that are just irritating. Perhaps, I am removed from the millennial generation, but I sincerely hope this book is not indicative of their behavior. One thing is clear; unfortunately, I am not the reader for this book.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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