6 of 52 finished 4 March
I really don’t feel like I have a lot to say about this book. It is what it sets out to be - a series of fragmentary stories that tell the life of Lizzie, a young woman living her life largely in mental institutions.
Not much feels new in this book, but it’s not really meant to. Scanlon is acutely aware of her predecessors in the genre, and references this cultural backdrop frequently, from a cheeky comparison to Girl, Interrupted to continual references to Virginia Woolf.
I didn’t read this one as quickly as I’d hoped. Promising Young Women is laid out in 20 non-linear sections. I think the gaps I allowed to open up between some of these sections worked against my overall reading of the book. While I didn’t feel compelled to read them all in one go, one after the other, I think my experience would have been the richer for it in the aftermath.
I don’t know where I first got the idea that some of Promising Young Women is autobiographical (nor have I found anything to confirm it, really, besides hints in a PANK interview
and her own tumblr posts
), but after I started thinking in this way it became hard to shake these thoughts, comparisons, and questions from occurring as I read. Anyone who writes fiction knows how annoying it is to be on the receiving end of this line of thinking, and I generally try to avoid it at all costs even if I know the author is down with it. This was near impossible for me to do in PYW, and I’m still not really sure why.
This was my favorite page in the book:
6/10, didn’t hate it, but if I’m being very honest I probably won’t keep thinking about it all that much in the end.