I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter
Narrator: Laurel Lefkow
Published by Scribner, Simon and Schuster Audio on July 11, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Literary
Length: 7 hours 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover
Source: Library, Publisher
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER * A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice * A Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club Selection * A Marie Claire Book Club Pick
A surreal novel with “a dark, delicious edge” (Time) about a woman in Silicon Valley who must decide how much she’s willing to give up for success—from an award-winning writer whose work Roxane Gay calls “utterly unique and remarkable.”
A year into her dream job at a cutthroat Silicon Valley start-up, Cassie finds herself trapped in a corporate nightmare. Between the long hours, toxic bosses, and unethical projects, she also struggles to reconcile the glittering promise of a city where obscene wealth lives alongside abject poverty and suffering. Ivy League grads complain about the snack selection from a conference room with a view of unhoused people bathing in the bay. Start-up burnouts leap into the paths of commuter trains, and men literally set themselves on fire in the streets.
Though isolated, Cassie is never alone. From her earliest memory, a miniature black hole has been her constant companion. It feeds on her depression and anxiety, growing or shrinking in relation to her distress. The black hole watches, but it also waits. Its relentless pull draws Cassie ever closer as the world around her unravels.
When she ends up unexpectedly pregnant at the same time her CEO’s demands cross into illegal territory, Cassie must decide whether the tempting fruits of Silicon Valley are really worth it. Sharp but vulnerable, unsettling yet darkly comic, Ripeportrays one millennial woman’s journey through our late-capitalist hellscape and offers a brilliantly incisive look at the absurdities of modern life.
This was a rather bleak story. Cassie has a job that she thought would be wonderful in Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, it is a very toxic environment when she can never work hard enough or make the supervisors happy. Her personal life isn’t any better. I thought that the story was well-written and very believable.
I felt bad for Cassie and wanted to see her stand up for herself and go find a happier life somewhere else. So many horrible things happened to Cassie both at her job and in her personal life and her methods of coping were less than healthy. I would not want Cassie’s life and hoped to see her situation improve. I didn’t necessarily like Cassie since she does some pretty distasteful things in this book.
I listened to the audiobook and thought that Lauren Lefkow did a great job with this story. I believe that this was my first experience with this narrator and I would not hesitate to listen to more of her work. I thought that she brought a lot of life to the story with the emotion she added to her reading. I am certain that her narration added to my overall enjoyment of this story.
I liked this book but I didn’t love it. This novel is rather depressing with unlikable characters. I do believe that a lot of readers will like this one more than I did and encourage anyone interested to give it a try.
I received a review copy of this book from Scribner.