Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication date: July 2nd 2013
You’re twenty-two, living in Brooklyn (Manhattan’s scruffy-but-cool cousin), and have just lost your job for drunkenly Facebooking an indiscreet photo of yourself on top of a bar. Yes, it was a rockin’ good party but your bosses have no sense of humor so what to do now? If you’re Pia Keller, the narrator in Brooklyn Girls, you borrow ten thousand dollars from a loan shark, buy a beat-up old hot pink food truck and start your own food business with nothing more than an idea and a degree in Art History. Like a blast from the past Brooklyn Girls gives the reader a glimpse back into the days when you had 4 roommates and coming up with the rent was a dicey proposition. If you’re a fan of Sophie Kinsella, Helen Fielding, Candace Bushnell, or Plum Sykes, then count author Gemma Burgess as the newest member of the stiletto shod, chick-lit gang.
Chick-lit done badly is more painful (and of less value) than a bikini wax. And like the waxing, if bad enough you’ll walk out halfway through. Thankfully, Burgess writes well, finding the tone of her characters and imbuing them with real personalities underneath their kitten-with-a-whip slang, high heels, and party personas. There is Julia, the steadfast over-achiever, her younger sister Coco who provides the naiveté and sweetness, the standoffish Madeleine, and Pia’s oldest friend, Angie, a female Keith Richards in her take-no-prisoners party attitude. Each has a story and each is real enough for the reader to care about that story. There are dead end jobs, men who disappear, too much booze, mistakes made, friendships formed and lessons learned. Depending on your age bracket you’ll either recognize or sympathize with these girls and their lives.
Sometimes I feel like getting through school and college and landing my first job as this long, exhausting marathon, and now someone’s said, okay, whatever, now you have another marathon right away. I’m right back at the starting line. It’s like everything I’ve done so far doesn’t count.
Brooklyn Girls is not out to change the world but sentiments like the one above ring true for most of us and invests us in this hyper-caffeinated, over-connected, TMI, Millennial reality. Sometimes, it’s all about fun and escape and the novel has enough of both to make stopping reading as easy as saying no to another Jello shot (don’t ask, Mom). Burgess keeps the plot running and jumping at a pace that will keep even the ADHD generation from being bored. And if, maybe, you get some insight into or memories of what that fresh-out-of-college time was like? Even better. Book Two, please!