BOOK REVIEW: the_atmospherians by Alex McElroy

the_atmospherians by Alex McElroy

Standalone Book

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

# of Pages: 304

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Satire

Format: Physical Copy; Advanced Reader Copy (Paperback)

First Time Reading

Date Started: (forgot to keep track)

Date Finished: (I think it took me about a week to ready because I kept getting busy)

Trigger Warnings: suicide (brief), eating disorders

Okay. Where do I start with this one?

I was excited to receive and read this one. One of my favorite things about this book is the cover because it looks like an Instagram post. I know that has nothing to do with the quality of the book but admittedly I am one of those people who definitely judge a book by it’s cover (only books not people, promise!). I thought the cover idea was unique and being a millennial that’s slightly obsessed with social media (yes only slightly) I found the cover very aesthetically pleasing.

One thing I also want to add is that this book is shelved as LGBTQ+ representation which I don’t feel it has. I think it may only be attributed this way because the author identifies as nonbinary and while I support the author I just don’t agree that the book holds that representation.

So let’s get into the nitty gritty details of this book. So first a little background about the book: It follows Sasha, the narrator for the majority of the book, and someone that used to make a living teaching women how to live the simplistic life style of doing nothing. She encouraged women to ditch their complicated skin care and beauty routines and just as her career is on the rise and she’s gaining attention one of her followers (and trolls) kills himself on social media, blaming her for it. Of course this leads to her getting cancelled and deserted by everyone she was growing close to just before her downfall. And right when she thinks she has no one left and no where else to go her best friend shows up and asks her to form a cult with him to cure toxic masculinity in the men of today’s society.

So that is the overall plot of the story without getting into too many of the details that actually occurred within the pages. So I ended up giving this book and overall rating of 3/5 stars. The book was definitely enjoyable to read and was an amusing read as well. I felt like the book really dragged on though. There were times while I was reading the book that I considered DNFing the book because I was somewhat bored and didn’t really feel any reason to keep pushing through (sometimes it felt as if the book wasn’t actually going anywhere).

What kept me interested in the book was the characters. I felt like the characters were very well written and I didn’t want to put the book down without knowing the end of their story (admittedly I wish there was a different ending but I am happy I read through to see what became of them). I was most interested in Sasha because I felt like she was the most relatable character and she was someone who’s growth and transformation I was interested in. I originally saw her as an innocent party that made a mistake so I wanted to see the book through to see if she got redemption.

Dyson I didn’t like so much. Even though he said he was trying to help eradicate toxic masculinity from society in my opinion he came across as very controlling and manipulative so I never truly trusted his intentions from the beginning. I also felt like he used his trauma to excuse his shitty behavior and this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I just felt like his character arc was a let down for me.

I felt that the book highlighted on some important things that we deal with in society but I feel like it dropped the ball on really shedding light on these topics. I know it isn’t supposed to be a hardcore, serious book and it’s more comical but I still feel that it could have done a better job if it was going to include such serious topics.

Overall the book left me with a “what was the point?” feeling. I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it to anyone that wants a quick light satirical read about toxic masculinity and cancel culture. Would I read it again? Probably not. Do I regret reading it? No, honestly if I finished the book then that says something because I am definitely one to DNF a book quickly. The style of writing and the character building kept me wanting to read the book and I did find it enjoyable in the end. It’s not a book I would aggressively encourage someone to read but it’s also a book that I wouldn’t deter someone from reading (unless I believe the content to be triggering for them).


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