A review by alexampersand
None Of This Is Serious by Catherine Prasifka

mysterious reflective slow-paced


There were pockets of this book that I loved, and other large parts that I really didn't. 

I thought the authors observations of internet culture, anxiety, burrowing oneself into the internet, was absolutely spot on. I found myself often taking note of quotes that so accurately and perfectly reflected my own experiences (something I haven't felt compelled to do while reading for about 10 years).

But other than these observations, everything else fell flat. 

There was an inclusion of a very big sci-fi fantasy element very early on.... that is then not developed in any way at all. For a book that deals with the human experience, and the minutia of emotions, it felt so jarring to have this one super fantastical element, and then not use it in any way at all other than simply being there.

I also felt the writing style quite off-putting - the lack of quotation marks around Sophie's speech, so it's left entirely up to us to seduce what is simply her internal monologue and what are her verbalised thoughts. This led to a larger problem of unreliable narration, which can sometimes be an interesting tool, but here it really grated on me being unsure what exactly was happening versus what Sophie was simply misinterpreting, especially around her interactions with her friends and family - is everyone in the book cruel towards her, or is that simply her read of the situation? This then becomes more problematic when it gets to the topic of secual assault, and she specifically mentions that the perpetrator for a second looks "genuinely confused", leading me to wonder for a minute whether it was intended sexual assault, which is quite tricky ground to be on when writing about such a controversial subject area. 

Which leads onto another big issue for me, which was the pacing. It felt like the book meandered along for the most part (almost 200 pages), before suddenly ramping up the conflict, causing a full-scale meltdown, and then very quickly resolving it, all in a mere 70 pages. 

And the resolution itself felt deeply unsatisfying. As I mentioned, for an author who seemed to really understand internet culture, it felt like the ending message was so simplified as to feel disingenuous and incredibly unsatisfying for me. "If I spend a bit less time on my phone, everything will be fine" just doesn't work for me, especially when we've seen how deep Sophie's issues seem to run within her. 

So overall... some really nice observations, but some real big stumbling blocks along the way. 

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