Review of We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman
This was interesting. In the end, I don’t think that this book was for me, but I did really like the author’s writing style. The way Silverman writes got me through a book that I might have really struggled with otherwise. The book I reviewed right before this one, I didn’t enjoy and it was my own fault for misreading the blurb. With this book, I actually did not misread anything. The book blurb makes you think that this book is in a certain genre, which it is not. This is contemporary or literary fiction and is not a thriller with a mystery twist that the blurb leads you to believe. The blurb gave me certain expectations, that the book just could not meet, and I don’t think that is fair to the author. I know it may be too late but I would change the blurb so readers are not disappointed and so this book will be targeted to the right audience.
This is a first-person story about Cass, a playwright, who flees to L.A. after a scandal of her own making. Cass wants to reinvent herself and gets sucked into the world of indie moviemaking about a group of teenage girls who have their own “Fight Club”. We get to see, through flashbacks, Cass success as a playwright, her downfall, and what her life is like now in L.A. in present time. It’s an odd premise for sure, and the story gets even weirder as you read it. I kept waiting for the mystery/thriller part to happen and was left scratching my head wondering “what am I reading?” when it didn’t.
One of the issues I had was that Cass is not the easiest character to like. It’s tough being in first person POV with someone you are struggling to connect with. She can be very self-centered, jealous, has a real woe is me attitude, and loves to run when anything gets tough. I don’t know that I can say if she ever really grew in the end, but I did find her a little more palatable as the book went on. Her relationship with one of the teenagers named BB –Cass is bisexual and BB is queer, so they seemed to bond over that plus Cass just knew how to really talk to BB- these scenes ended up being some of my favorite. They showed Cass in a better light and the character of BB really was the most interesting character of the whole book.
I have to mention that I’m a bit disappointed in the end. Maybe it is just not that kind of book, but I really wanted some better closure. Towards the end Cass seemed to be doing better, she was making amends to people and sticking up for herself, but then she fell into an old bad habit, which seemed to stop any growth I thought was happening. You see a spark of something at the end, but I was left saying “that’s it?” I feel like I spent a good amount of time on this book and I needed something more than the ending we get.
In the end, this was not the book I thought I was getting and I had a few issues that were pretty big. On the positive side, I really liked Silverman’s writing. This sounds a little weird, but her writing style felt good to read. I would read another book by her in a heartbeat, just to have more of that good reading feel. I wasn’t crazy about some of her story choices, but she is clearly a talented writer. 3.25 stars
An ARC was given to me for an honest review.