Back when Lena Dunham's HBO series was a hot commodity, an acquisitions editor at Random House thought that WRECK AND ORDER would resonate with all those young women who never missed an episode. A twenty-something female exploring her sexuality, in an endless pursuit of the perfect orgasm? The makings of a blockbuster, right?
The television programme died a slow death while WRECK AND ORDER worked its way through the publishing process. Sadly, it has arrived when readers no longer wish to inhabit the world of a complete wagon.
Elsie, the protagonist, is a narcissist who is obsessed with sex. She should be a sympathetic character, what with a backstory of familial dysfunction and a history of abusive relationships. And she's a lost lamb, funded by her father's generous checks so that she does not have to actually work and support herself like an adult. Should a reader not feel sympathy for a character trapped in perpetual childhood?
She goes off to find herself and ends up wallowing in self-pity, too busy studying her own navel to notice that she's lodged her head firmly up her arse. She treats those around her with selfish disregard, and if you manage to stick around to read through to the end of this plate of shite and onions, you'll find that her experience among the downtrodden does nothing to improve her because that's what all the other ordinary novels do and this is literary fiction.
Don't waste your time on this one. The author can write, but there's more to creating a novel than an ability to string words together into coherent sentences.
Thanks to Penguin Random House for providing the review copy.