Nice Try, Jane Sinner is a standalone contemporary book about a girl who dropped out of high school because of depression and is now taking part in a reality show.
I have mixed feelings about this book. Not because I thought there was anything wrong with it – it’s one of the few books with a character with a mental illness that isn’t exactly about her mental illness, and we need more of this – but because this is one of those books that start out funny and rapidly become boring.
The only thing that makes this book worth reading is Jane’s narration. Nice Try, Jane Sinner nails perfectly the “depression humor”, that kind of cynicism + sarcasm + self-deprecation mix that is probably extremely irritating to read unless you’ve been trough it. Its depiction felt real to me, but this and the exploration of faith are the only interesting things about this book.
Jane grew up in a religious family, but at some point she realized she didn’t believe anymore. It means a lot to me when books look at what it’s like to not believe when you’re living in a religious environment. You’re forced to fake it, and you feel like an impostor in your own house. Jane hasn’t lived with this realization for years, but this is still a thing that affects her. I find surprising how little American books talk about faith, and I don’t mean only the negative experiences. Faith, or the lack of it (especially when faith/the lack of it isn’t the norm), changes the way you see the world.
I loved how Nice Try, Jane Sinner book approached this, but here the positive part of this review ends.
My main problem with this book was my own boredom. I finished it in one afternoon, but I also feel like I wasted my time. The first half of this book was interesting, 4-star-funny, and the second half was romance and boredom. The reality show thing got old at least 200 pages before the actual ending, and the writing or the characters weren’t interesting enough to carry the story on their own, especially with a plot as predictable as this one. Jane was the only character who was actually developed, and even if her narration was interesting, the writing was very dry.
Also, this book dragged. It didn’t need to be 400 pages, which is almost always too much for a contemporary anyway.
One more thing: it’s not this book’s fault, but why is comorbidity never a thing in books about mental illness? It’s common in real life, so…
My rating: ★★½