Sometimes I get really excited for books, and I think that works to by downfall. True, some books live up to those expectations, but many more do not. And this book did the latter.
The Throwback List is a novel that I got while I was at Inkubator conference a while back. (For more on that, check out this post!) And I was excited to read it because the cover was cute and the blurb on the jacket was really interesting and I liked the vibes from it. However, as an acquaintance of mine reminded me, sometimes the marketing team does things without actually talking to the editorial team. That might have been the case with this novel. The blurb and the actual narrative are meant for two different readers if you ask me.
Lily Anderson's novel The Throwback List features three women from the same town. They all look different and they all have different goals but there is one thing that connects them, a list made by one of them when she was a senior in high school. This list is filled with things she and her best friend at the time wanted to do before graduating and leaving their small town in Oregon to do bigger and better things. They both left and somehow, they both came back. With them and a new friend, they will complete the list and maybe grow as people.
One thing that I can appreciate is the amount of diversity that the author presented in the narrative. While at first I was surprised, when I discovered that the author was a person of color it began to make sense as people of color, especially women of color opt for more diverse casts of characters in their work than white counterparts. And the diversity was there! Interracial relationships, differences in body shape, immigrant families, interracial adoption. And for the most part, it blended seamlessly.
However, I have always loved the term "chick lit." I would think to myself, "what does that even mean?" And since most women have a far wider reading repetoire than men, it really just grated my nerves. While I still hate that phrase, I think this book gave me more insight into that idea. I won't go to much into it as it would divert from the review, but there was a lot of friendship and relationship problems and real life and handling issues via conversation, which most men tend to avoid. Is that a generalization? Yes. But then again, so is crafting an entire genre that centers women and women's issues as only meant for women to read...so, sorry, not sorry.
One thing that felt odd to me was that this novel centered women in their late 20s yet it felt as though the readership was for someone older. There was a dissonance that I couldn't quite put my finger on, as though the author had no intended audience in mind when she set out. There were certain things that really did not make sense. The book is relatively new and yet the actions and references would not fit the ages of the characters. Perhaps Anderson had written the manuscript a while back and it took some time for it to be published and she chose to never age the characters? But whatever it is there was something off about it which kept me out of the story.
When you add that with the fact that the characters are really just not entertaining, it makes for a book that you can read but not one you'd probably pick up a second time. Don't get me wrong, there is a ton of drama. There's promiscuity and work stress and feeling the need to control things but it didn't keep me enthralled at all. With a lack of an anchor or something gripping me to the page, I couldn't get into it. However, if you are someone who is more of a casual reader, that might work for you. It just was not memorable to me. As I am writing this, I finished the book two days ago and cannot remember one of the main character's names. That's how droll it was.
What are you reading?