Finding Something To Say
Writers & Lovers
By: Lily King
I’ve never tried to write a book and quite honestly, I don’t think I ever could. I have tremendous respect for those who write because it’s so hard to be disciplined enough to spend each day sitting at your desk with no distractions and having to write for several hours. I know that sometimes writers will write for months and then have to throw it all out and start over again. I don’t think I have what it takes and I admire anyone who does, it’s incredibly hard work.
When I was in college, I was an English major but somehow managed to take all of the classes that required hundreds and hundreds of pages of reading. No college student ever wanted to take these classes. No one wanted to be cooped up in their dorm reading Middlemarch and yet, I loved every minute of these classes which often consisted of only a few people. I managed to get away with only a couple of writing classes. The bottom line is I can’t write under pressure. This blog has been much different for me because it’s a short recap of the books I have read each week…almost a stream of consciousness.
The main character in Writers and Lovers is 31-year-old Casey Peabody. Casey has spent the last 6 years trying to write a novel. In those 6 years, she has lived in many different places that I am sure made it hard to focus on writing. From the very beginning, we know that Casey is a smart woman trying to figure her life out. She went to Duke on a golf scholarship but lost her scholarship after her first month because she quit the golf team. She goes on to an MFA program in Pennsylvania, taking on more debt. After receiving this degree, she travels around, teaching, working odd jobs, and basically incurring more and more debt while trying to write her book.
The novel takes place in Cambridge, MA. Casey has moved back to her hometown because her mother has died very suddenly. Her mother did not live in Cambridge at the time of her death, she lived in Arizona and was on a trip to Chile when she died. Casey has returned to her hometown because it is where she was raised. I think going home after the death of a parent, seems like the comforting thing to do.
But home is not a house with a loving parent for Casey. She is estranged from her father and step-mother and her brother whom she is close with lives in Bend, Oregon. Casey has rented the potting shed behind her brother’s friend’s house. She is in debt up to her eyeballs and is waitressing to make ends meet. She decides to waitress so that she can write all morning and work all night and this to her, seems like the only way to get her novel finished.
I titled this week’s blog, Finding Something to Say because I was amazed when at the beginning of the book Casey’s landlord Adam asks her what she does all morning and when she replies that she writes, he says “You know…I just find it extraordinary that you think you have something to say.” And she thinks to herself “I don’t write because I think I have something to say. I write because if I don’t, everything feels even worse.”
The truth is, we all have something to say. That’s why so many of us write in journals or post things on social media. We all have things on our minds that we want to share with others. The difference between the average person and a writer is having the gift to articulate our words so that others can relate to what we are saying. Being able to feel the writer’s words is the sign of a good writer or at least a writer that I want to read. Lily King is a beautiful writer. There is something in her writing that makes you want to read on to see how the characters develop.
I loved this book because I could relate to what Casey was experiencing. No, I have never been in debt, I have never waitressed, but I do remember being younger than Casey and not knowing what all the answers in life were. I do remember being completely heartbroken and lost after the death of my father at 19 years old. I remember the feeling of hopelessness and not knowing what to do next. Even if your deceased parent didn’t tell you what to do all the time, the fact that they were there for you as a moral compass is everything. Casey is struggling with the loss of her mother. She is lost and is having a hard time finding her way. She is dating people who she may not necessarily be dating for the right reasons, she is working a dead-end job and she is not really taking control of her life. Ultimately, you will empathize with Casey and you will relate to her. You may not have been 31 when you felt this way but I am sure at some point in your life you felt lost.
I’ve covered the Writers part of the title, but what about the Lovers? Casey seems to only date writers. When the novel begins, she has just ended a relationship with a writer whom she met at a writer’s retreat. She then goes on to date two more writers. Silas, a writer and a teacher with a chipped tooth who Casey feels an immediate attraction to and Oscar, a 45-year old acclaimed writer who has been recently widowed with two young boys. You learn why Casey has been dating both men as you read on and several questions will develop in your mind. Will she ever finish her book? Which man will she ultimately choose? Will she ever get a real job and move out of the potting shed? But most importantly, you will cheer her on!
All of these questions will be answered and all loose ends are tied up at the end of the book. This novel is written from the heart. It’s wonderful, witty, romantic, and funny. The perfect feel-good novel to survive week two of our quarantine. Good luck! This book is sure to put a smile on your Vitamin D deprived face.
Writers and Lovers
By: Lily King
Publication date: March 3, 2020