Caitlyn Duffy's Reviews > How Should a Person Be?

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
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Jun 30, 2012

really liked it

There are times in this book when Sheila is so self-important that she really annoys me, as she rambles on about greatness and trying to achieve it. There are other instances in this book where she is so needy, so unsure of herself as a woman and as a narrator, that she disgusts me. There's something about an admission of neediness that is really off-putting, and I almost closed out of my Kindle on this book several times. But then I realized, as the story went on, that my dislike came from my own identification with Sheila. Her relationship with Margaux is very real to me, because I've often struggled especially since becoming an "adult" to make friends with women (unrelated to the NY Times article about making friends as you get older), and a lot of women I know have fallen into relationships that are all-consuming and emotionally destructive but addicting. My main issue with the book is that I kept thinking, how do all these artist live in Toronto and do little more than shampoo hair at a salon, and still pay rent??? In a lot of unpleasant, difficult-to-admit ways, this book is a mirror. But toward the end, as Sheila starts to figure out what in her life is actually valuable, I got a little teary. Life is not a harvest. There is only one Margaux!
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