Living in big cities can make for an interesting experience, full of opportunities and meeting people from all over the place. There are a whole genre of novels that center around characters in the big city. Ask Me Anything, by American author Francesca Delbanco, falls into that category.

New England native Rosalie Preston lives in New York City and aspires to be an actress. She is a part of a theatre troupe called the First Borns that consist of her and several of her college friends. Rosalie also has a day job as a love advice columnist for a teen girl magazine. Life In New York City also means love triangles among the group of friends, though Rosalie’s experience goes a different direction when she falls in to an affair with her best friend’s father.

Being a transplant myself who moved to a big city, I related to Rosalie’s experiences about what leaving home can be like. However, I felt like I’ve heard the plot line before: young columnist who lives in New York, has a group of diverse friends and is aspiring to be an actress. It reminds me of Sex in the City meets Friends meets Seinfeld. I’m not saying I have anything against those TV shows, but reading similar plot points made the story feel recycled and tired. Rosalie also interjects commentary throughout the chapters, but instead of adding to the story, I felt like it interrupted the flow. Delbanco created interesting characters, but there just wasn’t much of a story.

I later found out that Francesca Delbanco is one of the creators of the Netflix series Friends from College, which tracks the lives of Harvard graduates in New York City. After watching the first episode, I can definitely see the parallels between this novel and the TV show. I’m glad to see that Delbanco found success as a TV writer, which in my opinion, suits her more.

I do recommend this novel for a good read during a trip. I actually read this book during a bus trip to New York City, which did make for a relevant setting.

 

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