Crushing by Genevieve Novak

About the Book:

When do you stop starting over? The sparkling new novel from the author of No Hard Feelings.

Getting over someone is not that difficult. All you have to do is focus on every negative thing about them for the rest of your life until you forget to stop actively hoping for their slow and painful death, then get a haircut …

Serial monogamist Marnie is running late to her own identity crisis. After a decade of twisting herself into different versions of the ideal girlfriend, she’s swearing off relationships for good. Forever. Done. No more, no thank you.

Pretty inconvenient time to meet Isaac: certified dreamboat and the only man who has ever truly got her. It’s cool, though, they’re just friends, he’s got someone else, and she has more important things to worry about. Like who she is, what she wants, and what the hell she ever saw in the love(s) of her life in the first place.

Flanked by overwhelmed new mum Nicola, terminally single Claud, and eternal pessimist Kit, Marnie reckons with the question: who are we when we’re on our own?

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

Released 5 April 2023

My Thoughts:

I loved this! Just as I loved Genevieve Novak’s debut, No Hard Feelings, her second novel, Crushing, has also ticked all of the right boxes for me. There’s something about the combination of her wit, the topics she writes about, the characters, the banter between the characters, and the deep pockets of insight sprinkled throughout, that has her at the top of my list for life-lit authors.

‘If anything, he reinforced my resolve. That someone could have a girlfriend, be loyal to the point that they reject a kiss from a cute stranger, then go on to talk to them every day, lie in bed on the phone and reach new depths of intimacy when the moon came out – it only poured concrete into the belief that happily ever after was a falsity invented by romance novelists.’

Along with this being a novel about finding yourself and starting over (again), it also takes a sharp look at the ways in which women attach themselves to men who aren’t good for them, or good to them, because of a fear of the alternative: loneliness. Living alone, sleeping alone, eating alone, dying alone. It’s a fear that can be blown off when you’re in the flush of good times going out with your mates and you aren’t the only one left single, but as soon as you are the only one left single, that urgency returns, to couple up, to settle, even if it’s not an ideal relationship.

As the novel progresses, Marnie’s metamorphosis takes on a whole new force. She not only learns to be with herself but make it her mission to show others that they can too, creating a flow on effect throughout her life for the good. I loved the dynamics between Marnie and Claude, and the sister bond between Marnie and Nicola. Within Marnie’s relationship with these two women, we witness the ways that women can also misrepresent their own relationships to their friends on account of just wanting to have a person in your corner. We also see the ways in which sometimes, as a friend, we just need to let something play out and be there when it all falls apart to help pick up the pieces.

‘This is what it is to be a woman: to give. To give life, to give support, to give herself, to give in. And in return she receives: contempt, indifference, more requests, his load. She gives until she breaks, a spiderweb of cracks in her porcelain skin, holding still until she shatters into a thousand tiny pieces.

And men take. Take the love, the support, the credit, our patience. They take and take what isn’t theirs, what never was, what was designed to be shared, not stolen, until she is tired, angry, broken and useless, only then is she granted freedom from it all: the male gaze, the pedantry, the entitlement. They lose interest when she can no longer do anything for them; when they’re no longer a doe-eyed plaything with pillowy cleavage and endless capacity.’

Not just a novel of self-discovery, this is a joyful and hopeful novel about friendship, about creating your own village, and about discovering who you are and embracing that with gusto. Highly recommended with five stars.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s