When I first heard about this novel, "Self-Care" I was really excited. I had gotten rejected for a Netgalley ARC but vowed to purchase it when it came out and that's exactly what I did. I loved the idea of this book... an NYC startup that is run by two millennial women, and it's centered around the idea of self-care.... AFTER the 2016 election? It was everything I could want! 

However, this book 100% fell short for me and I will tell you why...

Publisher's Summary

Maren Gelb is on a company-imposed digital detox. She tweeted something terrible about the President's daughter, and as the COO of Richual, “the most inclusive online community platform for women to cultivate the practice of self-care and change the world by changing ourselves,” it's a PR nightmare. Not only is CEO Devin Avery counting on Maren to be fully present for their next round of funding, but indispensable employee Khadijah Walker has been keeping a secret that will reveal just how feminist Richual’s values actually are, and former Bachelorette contestant and Richual board member Evan Wiley is about to be embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal that could destroy the company forever.

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves—from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.

My Thoughts

I had very high hopes for this book but in conclusion, it is a definite skip. Truthfully, there is no plot... the story just didn't really make sense and it didn't feel fully fleshed out. The story HAD potential though, it just fell so flat. You have these two 'best friends' who are co-founders of this company that sounds interesting, at a very pivotal time in history, and in the business, but they can't get out of their own ways. 

You have these side characters that have multiple stories going on yet nothing is ever linked; the sexual assault scandal, the pregnant employee-- it was just a lot. It felt like the author was trying to throw everything buzzy and relevant into one story: self-care, presidential election, social media, racism, sexism, sexual assault... it was just overkill. However, maybe that was the point. 

I had that feeling at the end of the book like maybe we're not supposed to like this novel? Maybe it was a reflection of our own lives to the point of almost mocking the world we live in? Because at times throughout the novel it definitely felt like Stein was just making fun of people in start-ups or people who value self-care but in an intelligent way. I didn't feel offended by the novel but almost like it was supposed to be thought-provoking? 

I might be overthinking it but if that was the intention, then it was a good book. I guess it's the way you look at the story? 

Even if the book was supposed to be satire, the ending was infuriating. I was kind of rooting for Maren the entire time -- I found her much more likable than Devin and the ending was just not what I expected nor was it satisfying. Even if I loved the book up until that point, I think the ending would've ruined it for me. I was so mad! 

I have to say that reading this post-2020 election was refreshing -- it was like I wanted to scream at the women "It's going to be ok!" 

All in all, even if the book was supposed to be satire and thought-provoking, it wasn't satisfying and is a skip in my opinion. I did really love the writing and it was an easy book to get into but a little bit of a letdown.

What did you recently read that was disappointing?


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