Authors seem to love writing about the struggles they have while trying to write. “Writers and Lovers” follows Casey Peabody as she works through her writing career, her love life and her post-grad student debt. The author, Lily King, pulls readers along as she puts Casey through trials and awkward situations that cause the reader to feel both empathetic and the desire to shake some sense into her.
Casey works as a waitress at an upscale restaurant in Massachusetts. She rents a tiny garage room and has been working on a book for years without progress. The turmoil in her life continues as she begins simultaneously seeing two men who are vastly different. Casey tries to keep these stressors, and the all-consuming grief from losing her mother, from stopping her progress in life and her book.
While the characters may annoy the reader, they feel exceptionally realistic. Their flaws and attitudes give them an extra dimension. This is the case for Casey especially. Nothing is going right in her life, and her experiences are embarrassing enough to cause the reader stress. Yet, throughout these trials Casey continues to remain true to herself in a way that is genuine and likable, despite her poor choices.
King also takes readers through Casey’s ever-present grief from losing her mother and being estranged from her father. Throughout the book, Casey struggles with her relationships with others. She makes friends and enemies at work, has a fling with a man at a writing retreat that leaves her devastated and suffers through a difficult visit from her brother.
The prose is the real star of the book. King’s writing is lyrical and poetic, which makes this a great listen in audiobook form. She immerses the reader in the story in a way that feels authentic and romantic. King manages to make a contemporary fiction novel into a page turner. Readers become so invested in Casey’s life that it becomes difficult to set the book down and continue with their own.
This is a book about writing that hardly discusses the writing process. Casey is frequently thinking about her book, but the plot focuses more on her life away from her writing desk. Even in conversations with others, Casey tries to change the subject when people want to hear about her progress. However, her writing is a constant underlying element. The reader can sense that Casey’s book helps her cope with her job, debt and confusing love life. Casey embodies the starving artist cliche in a way that does not annoy the reader.
“Writers and Lovers” is a beautifully written book about the struggles of post-grad life. The writing style makes it a perfect audiobook and physical book alike. Readers prone to second-hand embarrassment may cringe, but Casey’s likability makes up for it. The emotional vulnerability of the characters makes it an all-consuming read that is hard to put down.