I bought Never Can say Goodbye in one of many fits of obsession over New York City and the desire to live there. Despite being very aware of the many complications and hardships that come with living in a city as big and expensive as New York, every couple of months or so I commence the daydream in which I make the move and officially become a New Yorker. This is, apparently, a pretty cliche thing for a writer to want and ultimately do as Sari Botton exemplified by collecting a series of essays by various writers about their love of New York City.
It’s always interesting to read stories from talented writers about their real life experiences and since these essays all take place in and about the same place they all carry similar themes. This, at times, was fun because you’d get two very different authors expressing almost the exact same sentiment about New York in their respective essays. Though, a couple stories in this stopped being fun and started being repetitive. One of the more common themes that I honestly got a little sick of by the end of the book was New York is always changing. Your favorite store will get shut down and turn into a restaurant you hate which will then get shutdown and turn into a bar you love. Yes, this is a big part of the city. You don’t usually get places that have been there for a lifetime, like you do in small towns, and entire neighborhoods can switch tones in a blink of an eye. This is part of the beauty of New York and it’s probably one of the things that makes living there so hard at the same time. Hearing more than one author discuss it was neat. Unfortunately there are not that many ways to repeat that idea and it quickly got repetitive.
The authors talking about the city got old, however I did like hearing from the authors about their experiences in the city. The personal stories. The little moments that only they will ever have and probably won’t be repeated by anyone ever. The sentiments about the city are all the same, but the experiences in it will all be unique and individual and that’s what I wanted to read about. The different perspectives and journeys are what made the book interesting.
It was also nice to discover some authors I’ve never heard of before. I’m going to look at this book as a glimpse of authors I should look up in the future. I may even return to some of the essays in the book if I get the itch to move to New York before I can handle it financially. From what I understand this book was a response to the strong reactions Sari Botton received after her first collection of essays which was about authors leaving New York, so maybe that’d convince me to hold off on moving for a while. I suspect it will have very similar themes to Never Can Say Goodbye though, so I may wait a while for that one.