THE GIRL WHO NEVER READ NOAM CHOMSKY by Jana Casale
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THE GIRL WHO NEVER READ NOAM CHOMSKY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The interior life of a millennial Everywoman as she matures over the decades.

Prepare to fall in love with Leda, the wickedly relatable protagonist of Casale's funny, insightful, and deeply adorable debut. When we first meet her, she's a college student studying writing in Boston, dealing with her annoying friendships with women, her unsatisfying encounters with men, and the loneliness and self-doubt at the heart of it all. As she moves through life, we see all her experiences from both the outside and the inside. For example, in a coffee shop exchange with her friend Elle about their future plans, Elle announces that, as far as she's concerned, it's time for the fantasy of becoming a writer to end. She just wants to set "realistic goals," she says. "Leda recognized the familiar wave of cruelty and cattiness that lingered in the comment, a rich but common display of the unabashed hatred and simultaneous press for superiority any woman could feel for another woman at any given moment.” Soon after this meeting with her ultraslender friend, Leda decides to join a gym. "As she walked past all the men and their weights, she looked back at the women running and biking and stepping. Keep running ladies, she thought. You'll never get away." Much later in life she's in a dressing room, miserably trying on bathing suits. She has told the obnoxious salesgirl several times that her name is Leda, but the woman insists on calling her Lisa, shouting, " 'Lisa, how are the sizes working for you?' 'Fine.' I'll kill you, Karen. I'll kill you right now, so help me god." We follow Leda as she drifts away from her commitment to writing and toward her first serious relationship, relocating quite unhappily for her partner's career. One of the most moving and original parts of the book is when Leda becomes a mother and we can see how much her attitudes toward herself and other people have matured by the way she raises her own child. In fact, the depictions of Leda's connections to both her mother and her daughter are filled with love and warmth. This is so rare in contemporary fiction, it's almost hard to believe. But just as importantly, will she ever get around to reading Noam Chomsky?

So much fun, so smart, and ultimately profound and beautiful.

Pub Date: April 17th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5247-3199-1
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2018




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