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YEAR OF THE WHAT by Jennifer Lieberman

YEAR OF THE WHAT

by Jennifer Lieberman

Publisher: Maple Mermaid Publishing Corp

A naïve actor/playwright has a life-changing year in this romantic comedy.

In December, Dana has a rude awakening when she realizes her musician ex-boyfriend, Russell—the man she lost her virginity to—is sleeping with another woman. After relocating to New York City from small-town Canada to pursue her dreams of writing and acting, and immediately jumping into a relationship with Russell, the university grad finds herself at a crossroads. With the help of Kelly, her flamboyant roommate who moonlights as a dominatrix, Dana embarks on 12 unforgettable months of late nights in clubs, wild hookups with younger men, and cross-country jaunts to reconnect with old flames. Dana briefly questions her sexual orientation after two separate encounters with women named Kim but quickly realizes she’s only attracted to the vast selection of men now at her fingertips. A brief fling with buff, macho actor Tony introduces Dana to what she really wants sexually. In turn, Dana finds an ideal balance of romance and sex with visiting Spanish artist Santiago but knows geography makes a longer relationship impossible. And then there’s Henry, a much older playboy who asks Dana to join him for an intimate birthday dinner but who also happens to be Dana’s boss. As the year unfolds, she begins to experience professional success onscreen and off-Broadway and discovers who she is and what she wants from life. Author, playwright, and actor Lieberman based this novel on her one-woman show, Year of the Slut, and her first-person voice as protagonist and narrator Dana is both conversational and charismatic. The reader gets a front-row seat to Dana’s sexual adventures, and watching a young woman own her sexuality while making her career dreams come true is pure, gratifying escapism. However, Dana’s character doesn’t display much vulnerability as she experiences win after win, resulting in a distinctive lack of nuance and a story that turns shallow very early on.

A chatty, memoir-esque novel that entertains but grows repetitive.