From Publishers Weekly
On the strength of an exposé she wrote for the New York Times Magazine
two years ago about her experience working at Gawker.com, Gould, hailing from Silver Spring, Md., and now in her late 20s, delivers a series of 11 insipid essays about her uninspired youth and general lack of motivation or talent for various jobs she took after moving to New York City. The writing seems intentionally bland, as if Gould is attempting to be blasé. At age 17, as she describes in Flower, she and her suburban friends listened to Liz Phair because the singer gave us permission to do stupid things and consider them adventures; in Gould's case, she deflowered a 14-year-old boy from the swim team, knowing her boyfriend would hear about it. She doesn't get into the artsiest Ivy as per plan (I was neither smart nor exceptional), but attends her safe (unvisited) choice, Kenyon, from which she drops out and moves to New York. Among other gigs, she works as a waitress for a sad-sack music bar and as a receptionist for a large, commercial publishing house (I felt silly for being shocked by the quality of what made it through). At Gawker, she became practiced at scanning a room or a page and isolating the appropriate things to hate. Desultory anecdotes of breakup and dating ensue, leaving the reader more confounded than moved. (May)
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Former Gawker editor Gould turns a sharp eye on her own life in 11 essays about her childhood, brief collegiate career in Ohio, and eventual move to New York. The perceptiveness and instinctive talent for spotting and exploiting weakness that elevated Gould at Gawker and made her so controversial carry the book. In the queasy traditions of eviscerating memoirs and plain old gossip, there is an element of callousness even in the tenderest moments she describes with former lovers and friends, making it impossible not to wonder what their reaction to this collection will be. Gould outs her affair at 17 with a 14-year-old, a few awkward years at Kenyon College, various affairs in New York, and a stint as a shot girl at a seedy bar. Gould also discusses her time at Gawker, describing how she covered parties, scanning the room for someone or something to mock. Readers will expect the book, given Gould’s record and reputation, to be salacious but instead it comes off as rather pedestrian. --Katherine Boyle