No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
What’s it about?
This story is narrated by a social media superstar. She makes her living traveling the world to speak to the many fans who view her observations on "the portal". The post that brought her to notoriety was ("Can a dog be twins?"). This novel is split into Part 1 and Part 2. The first section of the book seems to be the narrator sharing her glib, wry observations about humanity while living in "the portal". In Part 2 real life interrupts. The narrator's sharp observations are written in short paragraphs that hit us like a barrage of her thoughts.
What did it make me think about?
This is SO much a novel of 2020. It almost seems like it should be date-stamped and put into a time capsule. I could not help but think that Patricia Lockwood is incredibly talented, and at the same time her talent is so distinctly of her generation. A talent that has come of age on the internet. Her writing is comprised of quick staccato observations that are made for a quick post.
Should I read it?
Someone that I actually know (and can sit in a room with) needs to read this book so we can talk about it! I won't give too much away but I thought the two parts of the novel were distinct for a reason. The first part of the book was funny- but almost in a harsh, irreverent, trying too hard way- maybe like much of social media itself. "Our mothers could not stop using horny emojis. They used the winking one with its tongue out on our birthdays, they sent us long rows of the spurting three droplets when it rained. We had told them a thousand times, but they never listened- as long as they lived and loved us, as long as they split themselves open to have us, they would send us the peach in peach season.
NEVER SEND ME THE EGGPLANT AGAIN, MOM! she texted. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU'RE COOKING FOR DINNER."
So I couldn't help but laugh, but at the same time it seems kind of condescending.... Perhaps Patricia Lockwood is highlighting what can happen to the way you view the world when you spend a considerable amount of your life online and posting for the reaction of others (Part 1). It takes a big event to push her towards real relationships and off "the portal", "He looks like he's doing a good job, she decided finally. I bet his mom is proud of him, which is what she thought about most people she encountered these days.". It's the juxtaposition of these two lives that makes the novel worth reading- and worth talking about.
"What did we have a right to expect from this life? What were the terms of the contract? What had the politician promised us? The realtor, walking us through being's beautiful house? Could we sue? We would sue! Could we blow it all open? We would blow it all open.! Could we...... could we post about it?"
If you liked this try-
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet
The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez
ABOUT THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR’S CHOICE
LONGLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE
“Electrifying.” — O: The Oprah Magazine
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, USA TODAY, Vanity Fair, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Shondaland, Teen Vogue, Vulture, Lit Hub, Bustle, Electric Literature, and BookPage
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Winner of the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Winner of the 2020 National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Prize for Best First Book
Winner of the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Fiction
Finalist for the 2021 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel
Finalist for the 2021 Dylan Thomas Prize
Longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
Longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
Longlisted for the 2021 Women's Prize for Fiction
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Named Best Book of the Year by O: the Oprah Magazine, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Town and Country, Amazon, Indigo, NPR, Harper’s Bazaar, Kirkus Reviews, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping
favorites from 2020
some favorites of the last decade
best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!