Upon her arrival in London, an 18-year-old Irish girl begins anew as a drama student, with all the hopes of any young actress searching for the fame she’s always dreamed of. She struggles to fit in—she’s young and unexotic, a naive new girl—but soon she forges friendships and finds a place for herself in the big city.
Then she meets an attractive older man. He’s an established actor, 20 years older, and the inevitable clamorous relationship that ensues is one that will change her forever.
Back in July I read McBride’s debut A Girl is a Half-formed thing and I loved it. Well, if you liked that one you should totally read this one. It is written in a similar style, so you’ll need to concentrate, at least at the beginning. Or at least, I needed a bit of reading to get back into the right head-space. Once I did though, it was just wonderful.
It is the story of an Irish woman, just barely an adult, who heads to London to go to acting college. And there she meets a much older man. He, of course, has a past. But so too, does she. This is there story.
It is such a wonderful read. You really feel in the moment with Eily and everything she experiences. Sometimes you really want to just shake her and tell her to cop on, but she is who she is. And Stephen is who he is too. You want to slap him too sometimes.
But really it is a book all about being in the same emotional place as the characters, and McBride is just wonderful at getting you to understand what they are feeling. You may be uncertain as to who exactly is where, or what they’re wearing, but that isn’t the sort of book this is. This is a book where you are utterly in the moment with the characters. That’s what makes it so powerful.
And if I had to describe McBride’s writing in one word that is the word I would use, powerful. Because it just blows me away.