Sharon's Reviews > How Should a Person Be?

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
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I don't know whether to give this book a four or a two. I didn't like it - not at all, didn't agree with it, didn't enjoy it, didn't feel it told the truth about itself. But maybe having such a strong reaction to the book means it's an excellent book? I had heard this book raved about by smart people who think deeply and hold in high regard the same issues and values that I also carry. So I was surprised to read such a confused and confusing book. The main character, who many readers consider a feminist heroine, I found to be trapped by her own emotions in a self-imposed way, fixated on them without offering anything new or intriguing about this tendency of the artist, kept away from life by her obsession with what life means and should be for, and using her general existential angst as an excuse to abandon every responsibility and commitment on a whim.

The book seemed self-impressed throughout with its own boldness and emotional honesty, yet nothing was probed, nothing explained, and nothing presented in a way that empowers (or goads) the reader to find her own explanations. There's a heavy overtone of resenting the male dominance over women, both intentional by men and allowed/sought out by damaged women, yet no solutions are offered, and none of the female characters in the book offer anything strong in themselves or stand up to the men that abase them. Ugh, the more I think about it, the more I'm frustrated with this book and angry with its narrator.

But maybe I'll feel differently in five years, if life - men, friends - knock me around more.
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Reading Progress

September 21, 2012 – Started Reading
September 22, 2012 – Shelved
September 22, 2012 – Finished Reading

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