Well well well, holy fucking shit! It has been a long damn time since I posted anything on here, huh? I have not written a book review in almost two years. There are a several reasons for this: the world caught fire, I couldn't be bothered, and strangers kept asking me to review their books and I got sick of turning them down. ALAS! The world may still be on fire (a dumpster fire raging even more ferociously than it was in 2020), and strangers may once again start asking me to review their shitty books, however, I CAN BE BOTHERED AGAIN! Bothered to read, bothered to write, and bothered to share my bullshit opinions with the world wide internet once more. REJOICE, for I have returned. Or whatever. Here's a review...
Mallory Smart's The Only Living Girl In Chicago is really like no other book I have read. In the best possible way. Its story is simple - the protagonist, Zoe Clark, is almost 30 and doesn't really have her shit together yet, and kind of hates her life, so decides to move back home to Chicago in an attempt to remedy those things.
This isn't your standard coming-of-age bullshit though, because real life don't be like that. You don't suddenly just figure things out because one day you decided you need to. Sometimes life just happens and takes you along for the ride with it. That is what I love most about this book - it is real. It is possibly the realest book I have ever read, or perhaps, being a millennial, I just relate to it more than any other book I have read. I mean, for real, if you dislike millennials then this book, and I can not stress this enough, IS NOT FOR YOU. You'll legit hate it.
Smart's prose is so free and loose, it almost reads like a stream of consciousness, but for the Twitter generation. Vignettes of a lost soul, traversing the city of Chicago fuelled only by coffee, prescription meds and the knowledge that life is essentially pointless. There is no sugar coating the bad stuff, the embarrassing stuff, the mental health stuff, and you're not constantly being hit over the head with some moral of the week bullshit that you sometimes get in books like this. I would say that this is the closest to a "mumblecore" movie of any novel I have read. I get that mumblecore isn't exactly an up-to-date reference, but if you like movies like Hannah Takes the Stairs, then you'll love this book. I think.
I also love that there is an abridged audiobook version released on cassette, so if you can't be bothered to read the whole book (which you should), then you should check that out via HELLO AMERICA STEREO CASSETTE HERE.
Pick up the paperback directly from the publisher TRIDENT PRESS HERE.
Read Mallory's short story 'ENDTIMES' in PAPER AND INK #17 HERE.