How Could She
Book Review - How Could She by Lauren Mechling
I took a total gamble on this one. I usually wait for publicists to recommend books to me, this one I chose (somewhat randomly) out of the Viking Summer Catalog. I trust the publicists I’ve worked with for the past two years and they are learning my tastes and preferences. But, there were a few of things that caught my attention about this particular book:
The target consumers were listed as readers of Emma Straub (The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, etc.) and Sweetbitter.
Two authors who I adore, Stephanie Danler and Elif Batuman, wrote book jacket blurbs
It was described as “insightful and unsparing on female friendship”
How Could She by Lauren Mechling is about three women in the media industry who met while living and working in Toronto. In this book you’ll meet Geraldine, the one who formed the trio of friends and keeps them together. she is still living in Toronto and hasn’t quite found her stride in life, neither in her career nor in love. Sunny is, by all appearances, the successful one. She is married and has a glamorous career in NYC that pays well while also allowing her to pursue her artistic endeavors. Rachel, also living in NYC, is married and has a kid. She and Sunny haven’t kept up much, even though they are working at the same company and living in the same city. They really only get together when Geraldine comes to visit, which she does at the beginning of this book and which sparks some long-held secrets to be revealed for better or worse.
I’m so conflicted about my feelings on this book, which perhaps tells me it was a good one for me to read. On one hand, I loved reading about the world of media (from print to podcasts) and the state of that industry. I could totally relate to the three main characters. As Stephanie Danler wrote, “I know these women; I am these women.” I often found myself thinking, Oh man, I’ve been there. Or, I can totally relate to that feeling. Lauren Mechling gets women my age, our dreams, fears, desires. The ways in which we come together with our friends and the ways in which friendships sometimes let us down.
On the other hand, this story didn’t suck me in like others have. I didn’t find myself getting lost in the plot. I think there could be a couple of reasons for this. 1) It seems to me a lot of books are following a tried and true formula that is sure to hook readers and keep them turning the pages. The formula works, but it is predictable. This book did NOT use that formula. So my mind was revolting a bit, but yet I kept coming back to the story. 2) I felt like I was reading a book about me and my friends. I didn’t love some of the things I read that I recognized in my friendships with others. I saw my flaws and the flaws of my friends in these pages, which can be difficult to read.