Want
Grappling with motherhood, economic anxiety, rage, and the limits of language, Want is a fiercely personal novel that vibrates with anger, insight, and love.Elizabeth is tired. Years after coming to New York to try to build a life, she has found herself with two kids, a husband, two jobs, a PhD―and now they’re filing for bankruptcy. As she tries to balance her dream and the impossibility of striving toward it while her work and home lives feel poised to fall apart, she wakes at ungodly hours to run miles by the icy river, struggling to quiet her thoughts.When she reaches out to Sasha, her long-lost childhood friend, it feels almost harmless―one of those innocuous ruptures that exist online, in texts. But her timing is uncanny. Sasha is facing a crisis, too, and perhaps after years apart, their shared moments of crux can bring them back into each other’s lives.In Want, Lynn Steger Strong explores the subtle violences enacted on a certain type of woman when she dares to want things―and all the various violences in which she implicates herself as she tries to survive.

Want Details

TitleWant
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 7th, 2020
PublisherHenry Holt & Co.
ISBN-139781250247544
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Novels, Womens, Adult Fiction, New York, Adult, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

Want Review

  • Proustitute
    January 1, 1970
    Lynn Steger Strong's Want reads like a highly personal confession of various wants: the want of money and stability in one’s life and career; the want of providing more stability for one’s children, as well as support—emotional, financial, and otherwise—for one’s spouse; and also the want of creating lasting ties and friendships amid a world where technology has made us feel that people are closer, and yet has instead created gaps and chasms among people, even, in the narrator’s case here, her o Lynn Steger Strong's Want reads like a highly personal confession of various wants: the want of money and stability in one’s life and career; the want of providing more stability for one’s children, as well as support—emotional, financial, and otherwise—for one’s spouse; and also the want of creating lasting ties and friendships amid a world where technology has made us feel that people are closer, and yet has instead created gaps and chasms among people, even, in the narrator’s case here, her oldest friend, Sasha.The narrator of Want comes from a socioeconomically privileged background, with an Ivy League doctoral education to boot (Columbia is never named, but hinted at). With a husband following his fantasy of a dream job and two children to provide for, Steger Strong’s novel charts what it’s like to work at a charter high school in the Bronx—where the students are cattle-prodded into performing high on standardized testing rather than offered actual instruction or one-on-one time that would actually serve them—and also catalogues the increasing adjunctification of higher education in America. For those over-educated living in New York City, this is often paired with being over-worked and under-paid; this is the case of Steger Strong’s narrator in Want, and we witness how she attempts to balance her several jobs, declaring bankruptcy despite working nonstop, being a parent to her children and as much of a supportive wife to her husband as possible, all the while fantasizing about a friendship that fell off the tracks a decade ago—one that is only really continued on social media, in fits and starts.There are a lot of interesting passages and sequences to mull over in Want, and the books the narrator teaches to her undergrads at night are both resonant of her own prose and also familiarly savory to fans of literary and translated fiction. There are echoes of Rachel Cusk here, too, while Steger Strong maintains her own voice: never once fearful of admitting privilege and its loss for her narrator, and never scared to shows the flaws in modern life in terms of how it affects family, finances, mental health, and one’s personal relations.While there are many quotes I would love to pluck from the book, I’m respecting the do-not-quote mandate of the ARC I read—kindly provided by Henry Holt and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review—and urge those who are all too familiar with the over-educated and under-paid gap in America right now, especially those in education, to read this book when it’s published in July 2020. 4.5 stars
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  • Jessica Klahr
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of my favorite kind of books where I breezed through it in a couple days but there were countless points where I had to stop and appreciate a turn of phrase or a character trait description or something clever or the speaking of some truth that I identified with. The narration is in the present tense, with sections from past and present flowing together as one which had the beautiful effect of feeling like you’re in the main character’s stream of consciousness. It addressed the conce This is one of my favorite kind of books where I breezed through it in a couple days but there were countless points where I had to stop and appreciate a turn of phrase or a character trait description or something clever or the speaking of some truth that I identified with. The narration is in the present tense, with sections from past and present flowing together as one which had the beautiful effect of feeling like you’re in the main character’s stream of consciousness. It addressed the concept of women attempting to fulfill multiple roles simultaneously from mother, daughter, wife, sister, teacher, friend, and neighbor and the inevitability of failure from trying to be so many things at once. Our narrator (whose name is revealed at the very end) is constantly juggling all these facets of herself and her different privileges and what they mean. She is a white woman in her mid thirties, she’s in love with her husband and has two young daughters, she comes from a wealthy family who she is mostly estranged from, and at the beginning of the book she’s filing for bankruptcy, racked with crippling debt, but is still required to make payments on student loans that will never go away. Interspersed with her current predicaments is flashbacks to her teenage life, where she is friends, but more like sisters, with a girl named Sasha who she has since lost touch with. She shifts through all of these components and more, including her teaching jobs at a high school and night classes at a prestigious college, as well as her new friendship with a South American writer who sits in on one of her classes. The narration style reminded me of Jenny Offill’s books, with a woman recounting dispatches from her everyday like, but more cohesive and fluid. The author also excelled at breaking out of the enjoyable monotonous day to day account and making the reader feel the tension when the stakes are upped, especially during an uncomfortable moment with her parents and when something happens to one of her neighbors. I can’t say enough positive things about this book. I was interested in every part of it.
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  • Paris (parisperusing)
    January 1, 1970
    "All that talking, years of reading: There was a time I thought that all language might contain something of value, but most of life is flat and boring and the things we say are too. Or maybe it's that most of life is so much stranger than language is able to make room for, so we say the same dead things and hope maybe the who and how of what is said can make it into what we mean."Lynn Steger Strong's latest novel, Want, opens in 2000 with a doting memory of our heroine, Elizabeth, at age 16, an "All that talking, years of reading: There was a time I thought that all language might contain something of value, but most of life is flat and boring and the things we say are too. Or maybe it's that most of life is so much stranger than language is able to make room for, so we say the same dead things and hope maybe the who and how of what is said can make it into what we mean."Lynn Steger Strong's latest novel, Want, opens in 2000 with a doting memory of our heroine, Elizabeth, at age 16, and how she's tethered her love to her dear friend, Sasha, a year ahead of her. Like all beautiful people, Sasha is alluring, magnetic, an unfailing reminder of the innumerable ways Elizabeth places second to her. Seventeen years later: Elizabeth is 34, struggling to uphold her family of four as the brood's breadwinner, and barely making ends meet as an adjunct professor at underprivileged schools following the misadventures of her self-employed husband and the demands of their young daughters. She has, in so many ways, been broken by the trajectory of her life. She is not alone.While finding transient joy in being a confidant to her students, doing morning runs, and leaving work unannounced to read books in cafes at the limited leisure of her “magic credit card,” she scrolls through the wasteland of social media feeds to find Sasha — married and approaching motherhood again — with whom she yearns to reconcile after her descent to drugs and miscarriage years ago. Burned by the backhanded affection of her parents, whose abuse lingers long after she escapes Florida for an unaffordable life in New York, Elizabeth, like so many other women, must grapple with wanting so much from a world that does not always want her. Who must keep her hands on the steering wheel at all times, and must pull herself together at all times even when it seems the very fabric of her life continues to unravel around her.With Want, Strong pens an exhilarating evocation of the ways women overcome the hurdles of motherhood, the distress of being undesired, and the painful severance of once-beloved friendships.If you liked my review, feel free to follow me @parisperusing on Instagram.
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  • lark benobi
    January 1, 1970
    A novel about being trapped in exactly the life you were privileged enough to lead. The narrator of this novel, 34 year old Elizabeth, is white and has a Ph.D., but she works as an adjunct and, without insurance, has been bankrupted by a Caesarian and bad teeth. Her husband has a few more degrees of freedom...but this isn't a novel of overt resentment over women's lives overrun by children an responsibilities, so much as it is a relentlessly truthful, ruthlessly intelligent story of a woman look A novel about being trapped in exactly the life you were privileged enough to lead. The narrator of this novel, 34 year old Elizabeth, is white and has a Ph.D., but she works as an adjunct and, without insurance, has been bankrupted by a Caesarian and bad teeth. Her husband has a few more degrees of freedom...but this isn't a novel of overt resentment over women's lives overrun by children an responsibilities, so much as it is a relentlessly truthful, ruthlessly intelligent story of a woman looking at her life and asking: "Is it worth it?" and finding out that her answer is 'yes.' Favorite quote: “We cannot live outside the systems and the structures, but, it turns out, I cannot live within them either anymore.” That sounds fairly bleak, as far as life philosophies go, only Elizabeth is insightful enough to understand that her ability to experience her own life fully as she lives it, day to day, is exactly what makes it meaningful
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Want is a reflection on what people take for granted. Elizabeth, the main character, has a husband and family, and is an educator. Her husband worked in finance before the 2008 Economic Crisis, but has now been working with his hands. As Elizabeth ventures to work each day, she starts to slowly unravel and question her lifestyle. To make matters worse, Elizabeth and her husband are filing for bankruptcy. As mentioned above, this book is like holding up a mirror to the reader and tel 3.5 stars Want is a reflection on what people take for granted. Elizabeth, the main character, has a husband and family, and is an educator. Her husband worked in finance before the 2008 Economic Crisis, but has now been working with his hands. As Elizabeth ventures to work each day, she starts to slowly unravel and question her lifestyle. To make matters worse, Elizabeth and her husband are filing for bankruptcy. As mentioned above, this book is like holding up a mirror to the reader and telling them to enjoy what they have, because you'll always want more. At times, I didn't relate to the story much, but then other times it was exactly what I needed.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    On the surface, it would seem like Elizabeth, the heroine of Lynn steger Strong's novel WANT, has the world figured out if she only would stop navel gazing and be thankful for her blessings. Her life is enviable by any measure, but it is Strong's honesty and her ability to present the inner life of this woman so clearly that keeps the reader riveted. Here are the facts -- growing up in Florida, Elizabeth had a privileged childhood, followed by Columbia degrees and a life in Brooklyn, while she t On the surface, it would seem like Elizabeth, the heroine of Lynn steger Strong's novel WANT, has the world figured out if she only would stop navel gazing and be thankful for her blessings. Her life is enviable by any measure, but it is Strong's honesty and her ability to present the inner life of this woman so clearly that keeps the reader riveted. Here are the facts -- growing up in Florida, Elizabeth had a privileged childhood, followed by Columbia degrees and a life in Brooklyn, while she teaches in the Bronx and knows Manhattan well enough to jog across the Brooklyn Bridge and back every morning before breakfast. She also has two healthy, adorable girls, and a loving husband. So why does she feel so needy? The title of the book is the first clue -- no matter what they have, they always want more, feel secondary to friends, made to feel inferior by parents, sometimes everything is not enough. Ultimately, I liked Elizabeth enough that I wish I knew her in real life.
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  • Madeline Stevens
    January 1, 1970
    This is the book I needed to read. Read it in a single day, but I'm still over here thinking about it. The struggle of being a woman right now is dealt with fiercely but with such finesse. Haven't found something I've connected with this much in a while.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    WANT is a novel that situates the reader under the skin of a mother of two with a PhD, too many teaching jobs, fractured relationships with her parents and friends, a husband struggling to build a business, and pending bankruptcy. It’s wrenching and fevered and loving. I felt like I was living in this book as the challenges and setbacks piled up again and again without much reprieve. This layered feeling of constant anxiety pushes at the fraught limits of love, ambition, success, and desire. Her WANT is a novel that situates the reader under the skin of a mother of two with a PhD, too many teaching jobs, fractured relationships with her parents and friends, a husband struggling to build a business, and pending bankruptcy. It’s wrenching and fevered and loving. I felt like I was living in this book as the challenges and setbacks piled up again and again without much reprieve. This layered feeling of constant anxiety pushes at the fraught limits of love, ambition, success, and desire. Her heroine reveals how hard it is to survive in our modern life—even when you grew up with considerable privilege and professional advantages. And even if all we do is try to survive, we’re subject to the powerful desires of others (not only thanks to other people but capitalism with its large scale framework centered around profit, desire, and want). Also, in spite of everything, we also remain subject to our own desires—friendships without closure, intellectual and cultural needs, romance, the harmony of a community, nursing a child you don’t see enough of, the need to please, the ache of making others proud, the profound desire of being seen. It’s also a compulsive read which I fully expected given that I inhaled Lynn’s first novel HOLD STILL four years ago. She’s mined a very real nerve and this book is going to connect with so many readers.
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  • Chris Haak
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! Its subject, its style, and its honest description of modern life as it is for many people. Working hard, never having enough money, the stress of having to do too much stuff at the same time and trying to be a good partner and parent, a good employee, a good friend etc etc. Thank you Henry Holt and Co. and Edelweiss for the ARC
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  • Mairy
    January 1, 1970
    A contemporary, introspective narration of a young married mother of two young daughters. She does no have a flourishing job, sex seems pretty boring with her husband, they have debts up to their necks, she is obsessed with her high school/college bestie, she has a complicated relationship with her wealthy parents who keep scolding her. At times, I felt Elisabeth's life depressing, I did not understand her. Other times, the story felt like a reality check. But it was an interest read; it is funn A contemporary, introspective narration of a young married mother of two young daughters. She does no have a flourishing job, sex seems pretty boring with her husband, they have debts up to their necks, she is obsessed with her high school/college bestie, she has a complicated relationship with her wealthy parents who keep scolding her. At times, I felt Elisabeth's life depressing, I did not understand her. Other times, the story felt like a reality check. But it was an interest read; it is funny how as adults we can be so stubborn and we end up putting ourselves in tough situations, and also how some have such a hard time to let go of their past. If you enjoy psychological contemporary novels, you will enjoy this one. Thank you Net Galley and Henry Colt & Co. for this e-ARC in exchange of my honest review.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    An honest and relevant look at being a woman in the world today, a mother, a wife, a friend. I was completely enraptured by this novel!•Elizabeth is 34, the breadwinner of the family, her husband is self employed and spends most of his time taking care of their two girls while she works 2 teachings jobs to keep their family afloat, but its not enough and even with a Ph D her and her husband are filing for bankruptcy. She comes from a family and childhood of privilege, but there is strife between An honest and relevant look at being a woman in the world today, a mother, a wife, a friend. I was completely enraptured by this novel!•Elizabeth is 34, the breadwinner of the family, her husband is self employed and spends most of his time taking care of their two girls while she works 2 teachings jobs to keep their family afloat, but its not enough and even with a Ph D her and her husband are filing for bankruptcy. She comes from a family and childhood of privilege, but there is strife between her and her parents, this forces her to struggle with her lack of non disposable income and savings. She misses Sasha, her once best friend whose friendship has drifted and now is this disconnected relationship of short texts, sometimes going unanswered. She is unhappy at her daytime teaching job, always leaving early to read in cafe's using her "magic credit card" while it lasts.•Strong takes us deep inside our narrator's inner thoughts and wants. With honesty and understanding of what its like to fall short, to want to please people and be seen in all aspects of our lives. •With rythmic prose this is a compulsively readable and relatable book. Showing what its like in peoples busy lives today. Being pulled in all directions, working hard but never having enough money or time to do it all. So many passages I still ponder. Highly reccomend! •Thank you to the publisher for sending me this ARC opinions are my own. •For more of my book content check out https://www.instagram.com/bookalong
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  • Sam Glatt
    January 1, 1970
    This is the kind of novel that puts everything into perspective. With the word economy of Jenny Offill and the penetrative insight of Rachel Cusk, Lynn Steger Strong has written one of the most profoundly moving novels about motherhood, privilege, and the many forms of desire that I've read in years. It's the sort of book that was made to be discussed and dissected, but also to be sat with. Every single page feels as though it reveals another new secret of life that isn't actually a secret, but This is the kind of novel that puts everything into perspective. With the word economy of Jenny Offill and the penetrative insight of Rachel Cusk, Lynn Steger Strong has written one of the most profoundly moving novels about motherhood, privilege, and the many forms of desire that I've read in years. It's the sort of book that was made to be discussed and dissected, but also to be sat with. Every single page feels as though it reveals another new secret of life that isn't actually a secret, but is actually a fact of life that we are so afraid to discuss and be honest about. I could feel my own mother—and, in some moments, myself—in so much of this book, to the point where it had me picking up the phone to check in. Strong's sentences are also brisk, rhythmic, and electric in a way that feels effortless: she makes it seem so easy to carry her reader along at a brisk pace while also making sure you are lingering over every single word. This is, without a doubt, a book to watch out for in 2020. I can't wait for more people to read it and talk about it.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    A mostly nameless narrator talks about her wants. She’s unhappy in her job and she and her husband have filed for bankruptcy. They have no money to do much of anything. She does seem to like spending time with her children, though, who she refers to as the 2-year-old and the 4-year-old. Long blocks of text go by in which she refers to others as “she” which made it very difficult for me to remember who she was talking about. I guess this is the new avant-garde style of writing where hardly anyone A mostly nameless narrator talks about her wants. She’s unhappy in her job and she and her husband have filed for bankruptcy. They have no money to do much of anything. She does seem to like spending time with her children, though, who she refers to as the 2-year-old and the 4-year-old. Long blocks of text go by in which she refers to others as “she” which made it very difficult for me to remember who she was talking about. I guess this is the new avant-garde style of writing where hardly anyone has a name. I prefer names that I can associate with characters in a book. That makes it easier for me to follow the author’s train of thought.To me, the unnamed narrator who we find out near the end is Elizabeth, whined way too much. And virtually did nothing to change her circumstances for the better. That is my opinion and it doesn’t align with what other reviewers have said. If you don’t mind dwelling on depression for 300+ pages. this may be a great read for you.
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  • LITina Erica Bernal
    January 1, 1970
    Want is a story of a woman who grew up privileged, and is currently working multiple jobs and not making ends meet. Her husband is also chasing his dreams and not working a real job, though They have two young children to care for. Generally, I don’t care to read books like these because I don’t feel it is a struggle worth glorifying. However, this book was different because the main character does acknowledge her privilege and doesn’t make excuses for it. I found myself relating to her on multi Want is a story of a woman who grew up privileged, and is currently working multiple jobs and not making ends meet. Her husband is also chasing his dreams and not working a real job, though They have two young children to care for. Generally, I don’t care to read books like these because I don’t feel it is a struggle worth glorifying. However, this book was different because the main character does acknowledge her privilege and doesn’t make excuses for it. I found myself relating to her on multiple levels as a wife, mother, teacher, friend, and daughter. She discusses how a friendship from her past fell apart and still haunts her, because there was so much left unsaid. There’s also her past and her relationship with her parents, her life as a mother, as a high school teacher, as an adjunct professor, as a reader, a runner, the list goes on and on. It spreads across multiple themes (as mentioned above) and there were several parts that resonated with me. This book explores themes such as privilege, the education system, motherhood, mental health issues, gentrification, friendship, marriage and more . However, when I finished I did not feel that the end was well rounded enough. there were so many stories within the story (her friendship with a Chilean writer, her neighbor) and not enoughOf a connection, keeping the book on one overall theme. (I left feeling like “What was I supposed to take away fromreading this”?) While I understand all books will not give me a neat and tidy ending- I just felt at the ending there were so many unanswered questions. I was left wanting more (haha maybe that’s why the title is “Want”). I can’t say I hated it. I can’t say I loved it. Three stars for me for beautiful writing, a relatable main character, but I am still left feeling like I needed more in the end. I was provided an advanced reader copy in exchange for an hones review from #netgalley
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  • Kimball
    January 1, 1970
    It’s an unlivable narrator who is depressed. She is unhappy that her parents won’t help her out financially when she is the one who broke off ties with her parents and threw their money in their face. She declares bankruptcy with her husband but still spends money on the “magic credit card” that she won’t ever pay for. She is a burned out at her teaching job, leaving early, not helping the younger teachers and disillusioned with administration. She over does her running as her only release from It’s an unlivable narrator who is depressed. She is unhappy that her parents won’t help her out financially when she is the one who broke off ties with her parents and threw their money in their face. She declares bankruptcy with her husband but still spends money on the “magic credit card” that she won’t ever pay for. She is a burned out at her teaching job, leaving early, not helping the younger teachers and disillusioned with administration. She over does her running as her only release from her life. She is constantly thinking about her childhood friend that she is barely in contact with now. Overall, I just didn’t enjoy it.
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  • Ann Marie
    January 1, 1970
    This book resonated with me, especially in what we are going through with Covid-19. This book is about A woman named Elizabeth, grew up privileged, went to one of the best colleges, has a great family with two adorable daughters, a loving husband, a great job teaching in Brooklyn, a good friend, and much more. I can't say I know what it feels like to have all these things, but I can identify with always wanting more instead of counting the blessings we do have have. She has A great life, but com This book resonated with me, especially in what we are going through with Covid-19. This book is about A woman named Elizabeth, grew up privileged, went to one of the best colleges, has a great family with two adorable daughters, a loving husband, a great job teaching in Brooklyn, a good friend, and much more. I can't say I know what it feels like to have all these things, but I can identify with always wanting more instead of counting the blessings we do have have. She has A great life, but comes off as needy and wanting more and more. I don't have that great life, but I can identify with wanting more. Especially in these times, I should be counting the few blessings I do have, but want more. A great title for this book. As much or as little as we have, EVERYONE wants more, no matter who they are. A 3.5 stars.A special thanks to Henry Holt and Company and NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Vincent Scarpa
    January 1, 1970
    “All that talking, years of reading: There was a time I thought that all language might contain something of value, but most of life is flat and boring and the things we say are too. Or maybe it’s that most of life is so much stranger than language is able to make room for, so we say the same dead things and hope maybe the who and the how of what is said can make it into what we mean.”
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  • Missy
    January 1, 1970
    This novel is unlike any I've read. I at first didn't want to finish it. I couldn't get into the book. But it captivated me the more I continued to read. Somewhere along the way, Elizabeth lost happiness in her life. She was just going through the motions of living. She had lost track of her best friend, feeling like a failure in her parents eyes because her and her husband needed money. Heartbreaking at times and then she could make you laugh. You will want to put this on your TBR. You won't be This novel is unlike any I've read. I at first didn't want to finish it. I couldn't get into the book. But it captivated me the more I continued to read. Somewhere along the way, Elizabeth lost happiness in her life. She was just going through the motions of living. She had lost track of her best friend, feeling like a failure in her parents eyes because her and her husband needed money. Heartbreaking at times and then she could make you laugh. You will want to put this on your TBR. You won't be sorry buying this book. Thank you to Publisher and NetGalley for the eARC
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  • Kayo
    January 1, 1970
    Wanted to like this more. Sadly out didn't really stand out. Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.
  • Lindsay Hunter
    January 1, 1970
    There were so many moments I wanted to underline and highlight and cut out and paste all over my walls. Parenthood and friendhood and childhood, they’re all the same thing. They’re all a search for the self, a yearning and a terror and a hope. I ate this book right up.
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  • AngryGreyCat
    January 1, 1970
    This book was somewhat of a roller coaster ride for me. As I first began to read it and was introduced to Elizabeth, the protagonist, my eyes rolled so hard I thought I was going to injure myself. My knee jerk reaction was “here is this spoiled whiny princess who can’t just get her sh*t together”. That really was just a knee jerk reaction. The more I read of the book, and it really does suck you into her life, the more you realize there is much more nuance to her character. As you watch her unra This book was somewhat of a roller coaster ride for me. As I first began to read it and was introduced to Elizabeth, the protagonist, my eyes rolled so hard I thought I was going to injure myself. My knee jerk reaction was “here is this spoiled whiny princess who can’t just get her sh*t together”. That really was just a knee jerk reaction. The more I read of the book, and it really does suck you into her life, the more you realize there is much more nuance to her character. As you watch her unravel and try to hold herself together through running, through stolen afternoons reading in a coffee shops, or going to a movie, the layers to her story shine through and you realize. “Hey, I know this person or even perhaps I’ve been this person.”When we meet Elizabeth, she and her husband and are gathering the paperwork to file for bankruptcy due to hundreds of thousands in medical debt mainly from the births of their children. Elizabeth is a Phd in Literature, who teaches kids in a charter school. The dream of full professorship at a University is a ship that has long since sailed in this era of Adjunct Professors. Her husband’s job crashed and burned in the Lehman Bros. take down and he is building his own contracting business, but that is touch and go.Through this whole financial and legal mess, Elizabeth, keeps tabs on her best friend from her idyllic childhood, a time she acknowledges of embarrassing wealth and privilege. The information she sees is of the carefully curated Insta- variety and when Elizabeth finally reaches out to her almost on an impulse, obviously real life does not match. The novel tracks Elizabeth and her relationship with her husband, her friends, her co-workers, and her parents as she struggles to hold on to a life that resembles something she wants.This novel turns out to be so relatable and realistic. Many people, who were raised even solidly middle class, now find themselves in a position where even a cup of coffee with a friend is a stretch to the budget. As the title of the novel implies, there is this state of constant want because you can’t have even simple pleasures, there is never enough money or time or energy. And that is juxtaposed with a feed of Insta-culture letting you know that others are managing to have it all, in perfectly curated lives. Great Read!
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  • Donya
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an advanced review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review What on the surface appears to be a random assortment of thoughts and diary entry-ish musings is actually a heart breaking story of the things we WANT but give up for one reason or another. Lynn tells this story in a stream of consciousness narrative. There are not set chapters, there is not a setup to a problem (it is known from the early pages Elizabeth and her family as in financial trouble), there I received this book as an advanced review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review What on the surface appears to be a random assortment of thoughts and diary entry-ish musings is actually a heart breaking story of the things we WANT but give up for one reason or another. Lynn tells this story in a stream of consciousness narrative. There are not set chapters, there is not a setup to a problem (it is known from the early pages Elizabeth and her family as in financial trouble), there isn't a happy resolution and there is no tidy wrap up at the end. This is just life, it is messy and layered and that is reflected fully in this novel. The story follows Elizabeth who grew up wanting for nothing and is now in bankruptcy, in a job she hates and doesn't fit in and has lost touch with her best friend all while dealing with crippling depression, parental disappointment and the looming burden of being unable to provide for her children. It is an honest reflection of what how hard it can be to have what you want line up with reality. Elizabeth is smart, Ivy league graduate smart. Devours books in single sittings. Completely undone by her inability to cope with life sometimes and yet she is funny, loves her kids and her husband is daily just tries not to succumb to the panic ever lurking in her veins. She is almost every woman I have ever known at some point in their lives. As women we fight to be everything to everyone. It was so validating to read about a woman who admits it is impossible to be that without it causing you to loose part of yourself in the process. I found myself nodding and saying "ugggh yes this...omg yes this" over and over. This won't be like other books you read. As I said it is written in a flowing prose that can feel like it is wondering all over the place but really if you hang on it finds its way back. And aren't' we all like that? Just trying to hang on, doing our best for those we love, all while feeling like a fish flopping on a deck trying to catch our breath. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the advanced copy. This novel is due out July 7th.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Want is an appropriate title for the story of Elizabeth, a 34 year old married mother of two who lives in New York City. Author Lynn Steger Strong takes the reader inside the mind of this floundering woman, adrift in her own misery.It’s all about viewpoint. To an onlooker, Elizabeth is a well educated woman with a Ph.D. who is a high school teacher. She has parents who are still married and love her. Her husband is a carpenter and builder of custom furniture. In fact, he’s created some of the bu Want is an appropriate title for the story of Elizabeth, a 34 year old married mother of two who lives in New York City. Author Lynn Steger Strong takes the reader inside the mind of this floundering woman, adrift in her own misery.It’s all about viewpoint. To an onlooker, Elizabeth is a well educated woman with a Ph.D. who is a high school teacher. She has parents who are still married and love her. Her husband is a carpenter and builder of custom furniture. In fact, he’s created some of the built in furniture in their apartment. She has two healthy daughters, four and two years old, who her husband helps take care of while she works. That’s one perspective, that of an optimist. Elizabeth, however, is not one. She is deeply depressed. As she sees her life, she’s overeducated for a mind numbing job in a crowded school a long commute away. Her parents have refused to help her financially even though calamities have pushed her family to bankruptcy. Her husband walked away from a career on Wall Street Street. And she’s not sure how she feels about motherhood. She often thinks of her childhood with her best friend Sasha when life was simpler. They haven’t stayed in touch so she tries to reconnect to rekindle the friendship. I’ll go no further because I don’t like spoilers.Want is true literary fiction. Lynn Steger Strong is a writer of descriptive, evocative prose. Marriage, family relationships, careers, friendship and motherhood are all themes here. However, Elizabeth’s unhappiness shrouds the book in a gray fog. This is a beautiful read but a little too depressing for me. 4 stars.Thanks to NetGalley, Henry Holt and Co. and Lynn Steger Strong for this ARC.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    This book felt like living inside the main character's brain. As though it was her stream of consciousness had been put on paper for us to follow. The character, Elizabeth, is in her early 30s, married, with two kids, and two jobs. Living in NYC she is over educated and underpaid. This is easy to relate to no matter where you live if you are of a certain age. Those of us raised in the 80s and 90s have been set up to believe higher education is a must and saddled ourselves with student loan debt. This book felt like living inside the main character's brain. As though it was her stream of consciousness had been put on paper for us to follow. The character, Elizabeth, is in her early 30s, married, with two kids, and two jobs. Living in NYC she is over educated and underpaid. This is easy to relate to no matter where you live if you are of a certain age. Those of us raised in the 80s and 90s have been set up to believe higher education is a must and saddled ourselves with student loan debt. Then our parents are often shocked to learn we're all in debt up to our eyeballs. Elizabeth and her husband are no exception. Elizabeth's parents are wealthy though and would probably bail them out had Elizabeth not screamed at them and cut them out of her life for a bit. The money struggles are a part of this story of want. The other want Elizabeth has is the return of her childhood friend, Sasha. As a woman this is also easy to relate to - having a close friend in our youth only to grow apart as adulthood responsibilities take over. Elizabeth does what every person in this day and age does -stalk Sasha on social media. They do reunite in a way, but it's not the level Elizabeth misses from her youth. Overall this story definitely shows the many wants of modern day life. As we are still in the midst of a pandemic and people have learned to live with less of everything I wonder if our wants will lessen also. Or at least turn into wanting more simple things like human connection over the material things we've all been trained to chase. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!
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  • Sonya
    January 1, 1970
    The protagonist of this novel is smart, a good mother and teacher, but also is depressed, financially insecure, and at times self-sabotaging. She and her husband must declare bankruptcy at the beginning of the story and their security teeters on the brink of collapse. As she's working two jobs (as an adjunct professor and as a high school teacher at a corporate-owned charter school that believes its sole purpose is test preparation), she spends a great deal of time ruminating on a past friendshi The protagonist of this novel is smart, a good mother and teacher, but also is depressed, financially insecure, and at times self-sabotaging. She and her husband must declare bankruptcy at the beginning of the story and their security teeters on the brink of collapse. As she's working two jobs (as an adjunct professor and as a high school teacher at a corporate-owned charter school that believes its sole purpose is test preparation), she spends a great deal of time ruminating on a past friendship with Sasha, her closest friend from high school. So the narrative switches back and forth in time and the pivotal moments of both time periods come into focus. The chief concern of this story is how what people want drives their behavior. For this character, she wants to be understood and refuses to stretch or perform beyond her own limits to break away from the problems that weigh so heavily. She wants her parents to love and forgive her; she wants her husband to accept her while many times hiding key information about her mental state from him; she wants to teach her high school students how to think and the joy of learning; and she enjoys the unconditional love she receives from her daughters. She also struggles to find an ethical balance in the midst of this personal crisis. While this is not a happy novel, it is honest and does a lot to pick apart the false hopes we have that everything will always turn out in the end.
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  • Ramona Mead
    January 1, 1970
    After looking at reviews, it's clear many readers find this novel to only be the story of a white woman who is well aware of her privilege yet is complaining about her life anyway. This is accurate, yet the story is so much more. This is a deeply personal novel. It reads like a confessional journal or a letter of venting from a close friend. Our narrator Elizabeth is burnt out. her life feels like a hamster wheel. She's aware of her privilege (comparing her life to those of her black colleagues After looking at reviews, it's clear many readers find this novel to only be the story of a white woman who is well aware of her privilege yet is complaining about her life anyway. This is accurate, yet the story is so much more. This is a deeply personal novel. It reads like a confessional journal or a letter of venting from a close friend. Our narrator Elizabeth is burnt out. her life feels like a hamster wheel. She's aware of her privilege (comparing her life to those of her black colleagues and students) yet acknowledges life is hard anyway. This is what resonated most with me about this book ---> it's ultimately about how being a human is hard sometimes no matter how you might try to make the "right" choices, especially for women. Elizabeth spends a lot of time ruminating on her relationship with her lifelong best friend. They've grown apart and Elizabeth has regrets. This is a shockingly accurate look at female friendship. The author also does an excellent job of realistic views at marriage, relationships, and mental health. The writing feels frenzied at times. Elizabeth's narration is fast paced with a constant sense of urgency. I highly recommend this one for readers of literary fiction and women's issues. Many thanks to NetGalley for my digital advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • the overstuffed bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for the advance reader's copy of Want by Lynn Steger Strong. If you've ever wanted to live inside the mind of someone to see how they tick, this book is for you. In Want, we readers spend some time living inside the thoughts, dreams, memories and, yes, wants, of Elizabeth, the narrator and central character of this book. There are other characters but none exist outside of their interactions with Elizabeth, either in the past or present. We get a f Thank you to NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for the advance reader's copy of Want by Lynn Steger Strong. If you've ever wanted to live inside the mind of someone to see how they tick, this book is for you. In Want, we readers spend some time living inside the thoughts, dreams, memories and, yes, wants, of Elizabeth, the narrator and central character of this book. There are other characters but none exist outside of their interactions with Elizabeth, either in the past or present. We get a front row view of what it's like to do everything the "right" way and still struggle to find a path to a successful, happy life. This was a very gratifying read that was both intimate and all-encompassing at the same time. We get to be at work with Elizabeth and know how she feels about her job, co-workers, etc. We get to be at home with Elizabeth as she struggles to juggle parenthood, marriage and her own mental health. We get to find out why Elizabeth lost touch with her best friend Sasha and why it still bothers her. Mostly, we get to reflect on the fact that everyone has an life that everyone can see and then the life that they think they're living. If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. Bravo, Lynn Steger Strong.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Elizabeth is not a happy camper. She seems to be in a happy marriage and has two young children, but is weighed down by the challenges in her life (and there are many) and only seems truly happy when she is running in the early morning or ruminating about her childhood friend, Sasha.In Want, and through the author’s stream of conscious writing style, we’re absorbed into Elizabeth’s life and understand what she wants from life: financial stability, a job she likes where she can earn a decent livi Elizabeth is not a happy camper. She seems to be in a happy marriage and has two young children, but is weighed down by the challenges in her life (and there are many) and only seems truly happy when she is running in the early morning or ruminating about her childhood friend, Sasha.In Want, and through the author’s stream of conscious writing style, we’re absorbed into Elizabeth’s life and understand what she wants from life: financial stability, a job she likes where she can earn a decent living and have health insurance, and resolving a long standing fractured relationship. This writing style could be confusing at times but reflected the conflicts in her life and her strong need to try and resolve her wants.Want is an interesting book and she tackles a number of timely issues with themes of dysfunctional family relationships, the “business” of education today, sexual harassment in higher education, the struggle to live in a large city, and the challenges faced by people who are highly educated but low paid.Thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt and Company for the opportunity to read Want in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Addie BookCrazyBlogger
    January 1, 1970
    Elizabeth is working on her PhD in English literature, working two teaching jobs while trying to take care of a four and two year old. Her husband and her have just filed for bankruptcy after medical procedures became too expensive. She decides to reach out to her childhood best friend Sasha, whose facing her own crisis. The novel goes onto explore that entire relationship with flashbacks to the past and the intense bond the two of them once shared. The novel also goes on to explore Elizabeth’s Elizabeth is working on her PhD in English literature, working two teaching jobs while trying to take care of a four and two year old. Her husband and her have just filed for bankruptcy after medical procedures became too expensive. She decides to reach out to her childhood best friend Sasha, whose facing her own crisis. The novel goes onto explore that entire relationship with flashbacks to the past and the intense bond the two of them once shared. The novel also goes on to explore Elizabeth’s past as well. The writer makes a really interesting literary choice of not naming several characters in the book, which I think works brilliantly in this case. It really made me focus on analyzing Elizabeth as a person, as well as the relationship between her and Sasha, which is so reminiscent of my own childhood best friend. I ended up really enjoying this book. I liked what it had to say about struggling to make it on your own and the type of work that goes into a friendship. It had interesting things to say about motherhood, working and home life in general as well.
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  • Francis M. Torres
    January 1, 1970
    First of all thanks Netgalley and the publishers for give me the opportunity to read this book.This book was just wow! I felt like Lynn was writing about me, even though i am not a mom yet, and going through her exact struggles. But we are all going through some type of struggle right?I felt like I could relate to Elizabeth, in so many ways, she has two kids an amazing husband, 2 jobs, amazing degrees, and still she wants more. It gets a little confusing when you add her parents in the mix, beca First of all thanks Netgalley and the publishers for give me the opportunity to read this book.This book was just wow! I felt like Lynn was writing about me, even though i am not a mom yet, and going through her exact struggles. But we are all going through some type of struggle right?I felt like I could relate to Elizabeth, in so many ways, she has two kids an amazing husband, 2 jobs, amazing degrees, and still she wants more. It gets a little confusing when you add her parents in the mix, because they seem to be horrible parents at times, but you can see that they are all trying.When it comes to Sasha? I felt like the main character was lost within her best friend Sasha, she wanted not to be like her but to be around her at all times, but then she realizes when Sasha comes back into the picture that she is also struggling with day to day life. This book is soo personal, I felt drained at the end of it, and it’s not a bad thing it’s just how real day to day life can be for a woman like her for a woman in general going through similar things.Great read.
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