The book describes the lives of Emma and Clementine, two young women in their twenties, living and working in contemporary London, and struggling to achieve their dreams of success in one or another field of writing, but meanwhile struggling to stay afloat in jobs they dislike. A great deal of booze is consumed along the way, there are affairs and one-night stands, pregnancy scares, and friendships that sometimes descend into quarrels. The book ends with the grand wedding of a third friend, but we are not treated to a supposedly satisfying conclusion where everyone finds ‘the one.’ That, I suppose, is the new feminist approach at work.

The writing flows smoothly and is pretty bog-standard journalistic or feature article writing as found in the mid-level press in the UK, i.e., not over-intellectual but grammatically correct on the whole, with the occasional well-crafted and insightful phrase to alleviate the monotony. The book constitutes an easy read, appropriate for the beach or a holiday, and does not make undue intellectual demands on the reader. I personally found the booze culture difficult to understand, with the characters shifting almost perpetually between states of being drunk, vomiting, or hung over. I suppose that just as violence was an integral part of the childhood environment described in Elena Ferrante’s books about Naples, drinking alcohol in order to numb the senses is an integral part of contemporary life in England. I find that to be a very sad state of affairs, I must confess.

Expletives abound throughout the book, and that also seems to be pretty much par for the course for contemporary feminist writing. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I suppose that’s the new normal for this kind of ‘literature.’

The end takes the reader slightly by surprise, as one of the two main characters finally leaves her stultifying job and finds herself on course for the creative career to which she has been aspiring. BEWARE, SPOILER! She sits down to write, and the heading she puts on her screen is the title of the book we have just been reading. That is certainly a nice way to end a book.