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Review: Trying to Float

August 18, 2016

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.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2016 6:16 am

    Sorry you didn’t like the book more. I think I’ll pass on it.

  2. August 18, 2016 9:02 am

    Too bad it didn’t work; great premise though!

  3. August 18, 2016 9:25 am

    Doesn’t seem like a must-read. It’s interesting, though, about the genre designation. I just read The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens. Should/could it be a YA because the 2 main protagonists are 21? I don’t really have an answer. It does seem that a 17-year old’s story would be a YA though.

  4. August 18, 2016 12:03 pm

    It doesn’t sound like one I’d love, either. Thanks for sharing.

  5. August 18, 2016 3:19 pm

    so often that happens, you assume and then something doesn’t deliver. Maybe if you read it again in the future it might be better?

  6. August 18, 2016 3:46 pm

    I haven’t come across this one before but I’m intrigued by the Chelsea Hotel setting. You’re right that it does sound very YA though.

  7. August 18, 2016 3:53 pm

    Hmmmm, dunno

  8. Diane permalink
    August 18, 2016 8:43 pm

    I do love a good memoir but, this one I’m not too sure about. The idea of growing up in a NYC conjures all kinds of imaginings though.

  9. August 19, 2016 3:24 pm

    Interesting. I’ve also read books that were marketed improperly and it therefore affected how I felt about it. It does matter! It seems to mostly happen to me when I’m looking for a funny book and pick a book up marketed as humorous only to find it really a dark book. They are usually written by a woman so marketed as a light and funny chick lit.

  10. August 19, 2016 9:12 pm

    Too weird. I am halfway writing a post about living in a hotel! Won’t be searching this one out, however.

  11. August 22, 2016 2:38 pm

    Sorry that this memoir didn’t meet with your expectations. I hate when that happens. I wonder what Beth Kephart would have to say about those far-fetched moments that you spoke of. She’s sort of my memoir sounding board these days.

  12. bookingmama permalink
    August 23, 2016 6:35 pm

    I think your review is really insightful! Thanks for sharing!

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