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by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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As I read its final lines, declarative and profound and true, I felt mournful. The book -- this book! -- was over. I closed the novel and wondered if I could write a book this big, this ballsy. I imagined Ms. Wolitzer behind an imposing mahogany desk, quill in hand. "Why not?" she said to me, and smiled. Yes, why not?
There are many ways to measure a year, but the reader is likely to measure it in books.
Rakoff's novel poses a central question: what do you hold onto from your idealistic youth, and what do you shed?