Book Review: Sociable by Rebecca Harrington

Sociable by Rebecca Harrington chronicles the struggles of one millennial woman trying to navigate the particularly self-absorbed and fickle avenues of relationships and vocations in New York.

Elinor is a college graduate and hopeful journalist currently working has a nanny and living with her boyfriend of four years, Mike, in a dilapidated apartment with a bathtub shower combo next to the foam mat they generously call a bed. When Mike lands a new job writing for a respectable website where he claims to be writing real journalistic articles, Elinor begins to reflect on her current employment status.

This was not what she had pictured herself doing. For as long as she could remember she had wanted to be a writer. She was actually trying to do that! It was just hard. Writing was very hard and soul crushing. Literally anyone could tell you that.

When Elinor also lands a job in the internet journalism sector, thanks in large part to the networking abilities of Mike’s mother, her focus is turned slightly away from the ever-present unrest in her love life and towards the undisclosed nature of her new employment. Her first day is spent researching the history of the company she works for and trying to stomach the terrible office coffee, all the while wondering what her actual job title and description is.

“Well, this position takes a lot of initiative, Elinor. That’s the first aspect of any job. Take initiative.”

Elinor was torn between a sharp sense of injustice and a deeper fear that perhaps she had not been doing the right thing by continually Googling random topics. Guilt colored her future comments.

“Well, I didn’t even know what I was doing for sure.”

As Mike’s success begins to drive a wedge between him and Elinor, she struggles to hold on to the security and familiarity their relationship brings to her life. Bent on moving forward, Mike decides their relationship is due for some reflection and suggests a break—something Elinor enters into with vague understanding, leaning on the belief that ‘a break’ doesn’t actually mean ‘a break-up’.

Perhaps, the reader might be questioning why Elinor was so obsessed with Mike even though her never answered any of her emails and maybe had another girlfriend. Shouldn’t she just move on? They didn’t even have that good of a relationship! Reader, I don’t even know what to tell you. Rapidly, the whole thing had dissolved into boring societal and symbolic forces that went well beyond Mike, but somehow applied to him, like most affairs of the heart.

Fueled by the insecurity of her new relationship status and her inherent talent with social networking, Elinor begins to craft content that quickly goes viral—boosting her confidence and employment status simultaneously. What follows is at it’s essence a satirical coming-of-age tale about young women of this generation making their way in the world of selfies, Tinder and oh-so-relatable internet content.


A review copy of this title was provided by Doubleday Books.


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