Literary, etc is an eclectic blog where we talk & review books, films, & whatever strikes our mood.
A lot can happen in the course of a year and Anna Bloom’s The Art of Letting Go shows us exactly what happens when a twenty-five year old decides to enroll at university for the first time and gives up the life she’s settled for.
Narration is first person and Lilah is an engaging narrator. You’ll easily fall in love with her and want to be her friend. The Art of Letting Go is written in a form of a diary, but doesn’t read like one. Bloom has a talent for combining humor and sarcasm throughout the narrative. The Art of Letting Go is everything I’ve been wanting in a New Adult novel. Often times, New Adult authors get lost in the amount of required bedroom action and forget that New Adult is about finding yourself. Sure, sex is part of that, but there’s so much more from your first rented apartment to navigating adulthood and paying bills. Here Bloom gives us Lilah who is stumbling through life and we can associate with her mistakes. How many of us have put a limit on the amount of drinking we’re planning to do or going out with that cute guy when we’ve sworn off men? There’s a piece of Lilah in everyone of us and that’s what makes her so lovable. At times, Lilah does come off younger than her twenty-five years, but she was forced to grow up too quickly. University gives her the chance to let her hair down, try new things, and be the girl she lost along the way.
We have good character development and I feel like I got to know each person Lilah comes into contact with personally. There’s one exception and that’s Lilah’s ex-fiancé, John. I wish we had more scenes with him and what made him the toad he appears to be. Lilah becomes close friends with two university girls: Meredith and Jayne. I liked Meredith and she was the voice of reason when Lilah’s life became complicated. We don’t spend much time with Jayne, but she’s part of the group outings. Of course we have to have a yummy hero and oh boy, is Ben everything you want him to be! I won’t go into detail regarding him because I don’t want to spoil how great he is. We have a few secondary characters who also play a role including Lilah’s twin brother, Tristan. I’m glad our first introduction to him was via Lilah’s thoughts and I really enjoyed the process of getting to know him.
What I loved about The Art of Letting Go? Bloom captures the university culture perfectly and it brought back memories of when I did my postgrad degree in Glasgow. If you’ve ever lived in a residence hall or spent hours toiling away at the library, you’ll quickly remember your life as a student. Overall, I just freaking adored this book! I haven’t laughed so much in long time and it’s one of my favorites of the year.
If I can take a moment to discuss the use of spelling: it is British. Bloom does use a lot of Britishims, but nothing that will turn off readers. Also there are a few situations in which US readers might not find believable. For example, there’s talk of Lilah and friends going to a bar on campus and while most US universities are dry campuses there are a few with on-campus bars. The whole notion of a bar on campus was a foreign concept to me until I attended Glasgow University.
Anna Bloom’s The Art of Letting Go is a brilliant debut and a must read for any fan of Bridget Jones or New Adult. I can’t wait to get Ben’s narrative on spending Christmas with Lilah. Anna Bloom is an author to watch.