Review: Trying to Float
Seventeen year old Nicolaia Rips grew up in New York City’s Chelsea Hotel and shares her memories in Trying to Float: Coming of Age in the Chelsea Hotel. After hearing her daily complaints, her father suggested she write them down and so she did just that. Her father worked with her to strengthen her story and narrative and the results became this book.
Rips seemed to fit in better with the eccentric characters at the hotel than she did with her peers at school. She shares what it was like growing up a somewhat socially awkward outsider trying to navigate New York City and its public schools. Her parents were loving and supportive but maintained a moderately hands off attitude toward parenting.
I went into Trying to Float with high hopes – a memoir set in a New York City hotel sounded right up my alley – but I did have a few issues with the book. First of all, some of the stories seemed to be how a young child imagined them rather than how they actually happened. (Yes, I know, a memoir is an author’s recollection of events, but a few of hers seemed a little far-fetched.) Also, most of the stories took place away from the Chelsea Hotel.
From the subtitle and description, I thought I was picking up a memoir of what it’s like to grow up in a hotel and felt like I got a YA coming of age story. Because of my incorrect expectations, I liked this book but didn’t love it. In my (nonprofessional) opinion, Trying to Float would do better marketed to a YA audience.