Dana Schwartz has been the name behind the very popular Twitter handles – Guy In Your MFA and Dystopian YA Novel, both of which are known for perfectly crafted satire about literary pretention. And now Dana Schwartz is out with her debut novel – And We’re Off. And We’re Off is a story about the growing pains of a teenager and her mother. It makes for a quick read and has vividly described emotions coming out from it. Nora is an artist, like her museum-exhibited painter grandfather. She feels she lacks talent and everybody around is favouring her only because of her grandfather. However, her mother – Alice, never humours her. She feels Nora’s art is only a distracting and impractical hobby. So, the book is full of the drama that unfolds between a teenager with big dreams and her mother who doesn’t mince her words, and almost everything she says leads to a fight between the mother and the daughter. And then Nora is about to embark on an all expenses paid trip to Europe, which needless to say doesn’t have her mother too excited or happy about it.
The story is presented as a first person narration by Nora. The book presents everything in detail creating a beautiful visual experience for the readers, especially about the travelling in Europe. The narration is simple and easy going, the artistic bent of mind adding an individuality to Nora’s character which a reader could appreciate increasingly as they progress through the book. And then who can beat the fun and joy of a trip to Europe – be it Nora herself or the readers! It could well have been twice its current length and yet not worn out the welcome from the readers. The story seems familiar in places, predictable even, the characters could easily be judged by the reads at times, yet it makes for a light fun reading journey. The book brings out a very strong sense of wanderlust in its readers, I myself have added all the places Nora has been to, to my bucket list.
If you are dealing with parental relationship difficulties, which a lot of us are in today’s times; or if you are super passionate about travel, or maybe you are still trying to figure your life out, trying to find some meaning in life, learning to appreciate relationships better, this is a great quick read for you. The book is very down to earth, and feels very real and believable. The readers would easily be able to relate to the characters in the story. It is not just a piece of teen fiction, this one makes a great read for people of all ages looking for an interesting adventure.