‘Places I Stopped On the Way Home’ by Meg Fee

From the blurb:

In Places I Stopped On the Way Home Meg Fee plots her life in New York City – from falling in love at the Lincoln Centre to escaping the roommate (and bedbugs) from hell on Thompson Street, chasing false promises on 66th Street and the wrong men everywhere to finding friendships over glasses of wine in Harlem and Greenwich Village.

Weaving together her joys and sorrows, expectations and uncertainties, aspirations and realities, the result is an exhilarating collection of essays about love and friendship, failure and suffering, and above all hope.  Join Meg on her heart-wrenching journey, as she cuts the difficult path to finding herself and finding home.

Published by Icon Books Ltd – 3rd May 2018

You can buy a copy of this book here.

I love connecting with other bloggers both on their blogs, and on social media, and that’s exactly how I found out about ‘Places I Stopped on the Way Home’ by Meg Fee.  Lucy from The Literary Edit was raving about this book on Twitter and it immediately sparked my interest.  I remember her saying she had 50 pages left and didn’t want it to end and I love those kinds of books.  Then I looked it up on Goodreads, and the words New York and the subtitle ‘a memoir of chaos and grace’ were enough to convince me I had to read this book.

I’ve been loving using my library lately, and it’s been so refreshing learning just how many new titles are added to their catalogue, and so I put this one on hold as soon as I saw it was available.  From the very first moment I picked it up from my local library, I knew it was going to be a great read.  I mean – that cover!  And then that blurb!  And I’ve been craving stories and non-fiction set in New York recently (someone buy me a ticket and take me back!).

I read this over the course of the recent bank holiday weekend, whilst out and about in London.  It’s the perfect size to carry around in your handbag and the format of the book meant it was perfect for dipping in and out of whilst on the tube, or queuing up for tickets for London Zoo.  This is a series of essays all about Meg Fee’s life in New York, mainly during her twenties.  Each essay is entitled with a place in New York that holds some significance to what she’s talking about, or in which the events discussed takes place.

In these wonderful essays, Fee documents life in her twenties, and finding her place in the world, which includes trying to find love, and friendship.  Although I couldn’t always 100% relate to the exact situations she was talking about, so many things she discussed resonated with me.  For example, being unsure of yourself.  What do you like?  What do you not like?  What makes you laugh?  What makes you angry?  What drives you and brings meaning to the world for you?  Who do you want in your life?  Who do you want to surround yourself with?  So many of these questions I found myself grappling with in my twenties, as I’m sure so many of us have.  It’s only now I’m in my thirties that I feel more confident of who I am and what I want.  Meg discusses many instances of giving in to the wrongness of situations, not sticking up for her own morals and perhaps hiding behind those of others.  Yep, that was me.  Like I said, so many resonating moments.

And although I went into this book with the knowledge that this would be centered around New York, Fee doesn’t sugar coat the city at all.  There are many moments where the city let her down and crushed her romanticised image of it, and I really appreciated this.  I’ve often daydreamed about living in New York for a while – the hustle and bustle of the city really appeals to me.  But I’m reminded of a review Olive from abookolive did in her May Wrap Up of a book called ‘This is Where You Belong’ by Melody Warnick.  One of the main things she took away from the book was just because you move to a new place, doesn’t mean you’re going to love it.  You have to work at loving it, you have to put the effort in.  Places like New York hold so much romanticism for people across the world, but is living there all it’s cracked up to be?

If you’re a woman in your twenties, you must read this book.  If you’re past the delights (that was sarcasm) of your twenties, then you have to read this book.  If you’re a man, you must read this book.  I loved it.

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