Without much of a plot, this book still pulls you in. Writers & Lovers by Lily King has characters that are not only relatable, but realistic in a sort of deprecating way. Many ends-meat while you’re reading, you’re either mentally (or physically) yelling at your character to get their life together or you take an envious pride in them. Neither of these reactions apply to Casey Peabody, our protagonist.
As an aspiring writer without much in the way of family, Casey drifts, more-or-less, through life. The only real anchor is the book she’s been working on for over a decade. Struggling to make ends-meat, in the simplest survival sense of the word, Casey’s life resembles the orb in a pinball machine.
Perhaps the pandemic has made this story more relatable, branching out from just struggling artists, to struggling humans. But Casey is the personification of childhood dreams. The one ambition we all hold onto for as long as possible, except that Casey held onto it for longer than possible. It’s an uplifting yet realistic expectation of what life holds for artists. Nowadays, it’s a barely hopeful fate for most young adults in the work force.
Not only that, but Casey is an instrument for a genuine portrayal of relationships. Frequently, writers create singular issues that either implode relationships or bring characters together. In Writers & Lovers, King creates a series of situations and reasons for the characters to either be together or be apart. It’s up to Casey to figure out the relationship that not only fits, but makes her happy.
Throughout the book, Casey is continuously searching for someone to be another anchor for her. But each person pulls her to something different. One craves her as a distraction, in search of a walking tv. Another craves her as a mother, hunting down the plugs to his gaps rather than forging them himself. And one craves nothing but peace of his own.
Things are complicated in an exhausting sort of way. While time can’t move faster in the real word, you can at least watch Casey put her life together faster than we can do so of our own. It’s almost emotionally pleasing to read Writers & Lovers, it offers a sensation that is similar to the satisfaction of cleaning videos and ASMR sounds. But it is an added bonus that King wrote the book so well, a beautiful 320 pages.