A few weeks ago, my friend Melissa told me about a book that she was obsessed with and wanted me to read once she was finished. I was unsure if I would get into it because it didn’t quite seem like my type of book – my boyfriend has accused me of being a book snob – but I’ve recently been trying to expand my “narrow field,” so I decided to give it a try.
Gemma Burgess’ third book, Brooklyn Girls, is about five women (Pia, Julie, Angie, Coco and Madeline) in their early twenties, just starting on life after college, trying not only to make it in the world (living independently without help from their parents), but also, trying to figure out who they really are and what they’re interested in. It is the first book in a series of the same name (the second book, Love and Chaos is due out winter 2014), told through the eyes of Pia. Pia is a bit spoiled; her parents have paid her way through life and gotten her out of trouble numerous times, but when she loses her job in a PR agency after only being there for a week because of a drunken night (her father had gotten her that job), her parents take action. They cut her off completely, not even sending any money for rent, and give her an ultimatum: if she doesn’t make something of herself in two months, they were going to take her back to Zurich with them. This results in Pia trying out different, sometimes eccentric jobs, none of which seem to be going anywhere for her, until, while visiting the Brooklyn Flea, she comes up with the idea to launch a health-food food truck which she calls SkinnyWheels. The question is, how will she get the money to pay for it?
From violent loan sharks, drunk roommates and bonding over shared experiences, to an ex that she can’t get over (it’s been four years) and a guy she may miss out on, Pia spends her possible last two months of freedom in chaos, but having a blast (most of the time). She reminds me a bit of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & the City – likeable, but has those cringe worthy moments where you just want to tell her to stop, take a step back and think first.
What I find particularly funny about this book is that the characters live in a part of Brooklyn that I know well, they walk down the same streets that I do, go to places that I’ve either gone to or know about. Many times when I read a book, it takes place either somewhere that I’ve never been or somewhere that I’ve never heard of. I feel like it makes the characters that much more relatable with them running around in your own backyard. Also, by reading about Pia and her roommates, this book makes you take a look at your own life and reevaluate it. Are you exactly where you want to be? Are there any improvements that you could make to your carrier or life? Are you out of control running around drunk and doing drugs like Pia’s roommate and best friend Angie, cab surfing on the Brooklyn Bridge?
The next novel in this series takes on the perspective of Angie, which I feel will be quite interesting, and Melissa and I will be reading it.