I love reading novels about people with problems. The problems that they themselves create and yet wonder just how they got in the middle of their mess. Reading those kinds of books is like watching crash test dummies run into the brick wall over and over and never getting tired of it.
So it came as no surprise to me that I enjoyed reading SPOILED by Caitlin Macy. These nine stories carry a similar theme: women either from a privileged background or are currently living in a privileged world who have created their misery and dysfunctions. Stylish and savvy New York City women who have secrets that will never see the light of day or problems that rise to the surface over one ill-timed conversation. Welcome to SPOILED.
This was my first time reading Macy's work and I have to admit that I was quite impressed with her writing: The New Yorker-esque style mixed with literary craftsmanship and a bit of well-tailored gossip. The women in these stories feel as though you have just had lunch with them after a prolonged period of not speaking with them; when you finally do see them, you shake your head sadly, knowing that they have not changed at all. Although each story did have a separate quality that I enjoyed, my favourite stories were "Annabel's Mother" and "Eden's Gate".
"Annabel's Mother" is the story of how a good deed goes somewhat awry and a young girl who, quite nicely, is older than she appears due a major deficit in her life; while "Eden's Gate" is a tale of regrets, repressed jealousy and a dinner that ends in tragedy. These stories, in my opinion, were great examples of Macy's writing style, keeping me hooked with every word until I reached the end. I especially loved "Eden's Gate" in that I could not stand the main female character, Jessica. However, I loved the story in that I disliked her so much that I had to find out if anything was going to happen to her. I was just that curious.
The woes of the rich and privileged have been laid out like a sumptuous and SPOILED dinner, thanks to the intelligent writing of Caitlin Macy. If you are a fan of the works of Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud or my literary idol, Ian McEwan, then you will enjoy Caitlin Macy!