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Book review: 'Sweetbitter' Stephanie Danler

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

'Coming of age' books have a certain taste for a twenty something girl who is still figuring who she is and what she wants. Every time I read another coming-of-age novel I feel different at the end. As if seeing other people change, evolve, have their heart broken, have their life and dreams torn appart, helped me realize that the same is happening to me, that it is okay, and that it will be all right in the end. I will get it together and figure it out. Already at the start of the Summer, 'Hot Milk' did something to me that I wasn't expecting. It did help me look at my relationship with my parents in a different way. This Autumn, another book changed me in another way. The main character of 'Sweetbitter', Tess, is very unlike me. Yet I related a lot to her falling in love and then willing to get lost, willing to do anything that is possible to get away from this sadness that was surrounding her life. 'Sweetbitter' is raw, harsh, poignant. It is not a lovely coming-of-age tale, it is the complete opposite. It is life. All of its mistakes, all of its decisions, all of the bad choices and the wrong boys you meet. 'Sweetbitter' touched me in an unexpected way, actually, this novel broke my heart. You cannot help, while reading the novel, to feel the urge to help Tess, this girl getting lost. You cannot help but think "no, don't do that! It will be okay, you'll see!". All along my reading I could see from outside her bad decisions, her mistakes, the moments where she should have stand up, the moments where she should have shut her mouth. I saw that all the way long, and then I realized that when it came to myself, I couldn't think that way. I was not seeing any of that, for me. In the end, I am just as lost as Tess. But nobody wrote my story to show me that. 



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