My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

ARC Review: Time's A Thief by B.G. Firmani

Please Note:  I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Eighties New York springs to gritty, vibrant life in this piercingly romantic and compulsively readable coming-of-age novel. A beautiful, sad, funny, altogether bewitching debut

Francesca "Chess" Varani is an ultra-bright, sassy, but vulnerable Barnard freshwoman from a blue-collar background in the vibrantly gritty New York City of the mid-eighties. She strikes up a volatile and somewhat toxic friendship with drama-queen classmate Kendra Marr-Löwenstein, and falls into the bewitching orbit of her Salingeresque, high-toned family. Upon graduation, she moves into the Marr-Löwenstein house in the West Village as a secretary/girl-of-all-work to the soignèe literary intellectual Clarice Marr (think Susan Sontag but blondly coiffed and dressed in Chanel) and receives the sentimental education and emotional roughing up New York bestows on all of its new arrivals—including a love affair with Clarice's glamorously damaged son, Jerry.The story is related by Chess in sadder but wiser fashion from the distance of a financially beset 2008 and the depths of a crap job taken of necessity, tinged with the poignancy of time and choices made and not made.

When comparing themselves to the British, American's often pride themselves that their country doesn't have a rigid class system.  Rich and poor, alike, can mingle.  No one really cares about if your family has money or not.  To which I say:

Time's a Thief, by B.G. Firmani, explores themes of entitlement and assumptions, between working-class and wealthy college co-eds at Columbia University.  It is a love letter to 80's New York City, and the optimism that only twenty-somethings can possess.

What I Liked: 
Chess dreams of going to school in New York, and quickly assimilates into college life at Barnard College.  With her working class background, she is easily dazzled by her rich new friends, particularly Kendra.  Always a people pleaser, she becomes enmeshed in Kendra's family and nearly becomes their servant.  She puts up with this treatment because of her own insecurity.  I liked how Chess finally comes to terms with her background, and whether Kendra's family will ever consider her their equal.  She has a road to travel to understand her own worth.

Jerry is Kendra's brother and later becomes involved with Chess.  He is the charming bad boy that everyone wants to save.  While I didn't "like" his character, I think he served a purpose in this book.  He demonstrates how entitled people make assumptions about others.  The bubble he lives in is indicative of white male privilege.  He is clueless as to how much Chess does for him, and what she sacrifices to be with him.

Character progression:
Chess narrates the story that spans over twenty years.  One of the things I found fascinating was how she went from an optimist to a pessimist, and then found some peace.  I think most twenty-somethings have the outlook that the world is their oyster and they will all accomplish great things.  As we get older and realize that most of us won't make a serious impact, we can become bitter.  I liked how Chess worked through those feelings.

1980's New York:
While I have never been to New York, I was a young person at that time.  New York always seemed like the most glamorous place in America.  With all the characters going out, even when they don't have money, New York nightlife is showcased.  The author does a wonderful job of evoking this time and place.

What I Was Mixed About:
Do all rich people need to be jerks?  It seems like every single rich person in this novel is terrible.  Each and every one of these characters were truly awful people.  I don't think I would want to hang out with them.  I found this to be a bit extreme. 






Release Date:  May 2nd, 2017

Genre:  General Fiction

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  This would be a wonderful book club selection.  I think it beautifully expresses the transition from student to adult. 
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MsArdychan has read 5 books toward her goal of 120 books.


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