The Futures by Anna Pitoniak

The Futures by Anna Pitoniak starts as a campus novel and then moves to New York. It had my name written all over it…

Julia’s dating guy #1. She cheats on him with guy #2. Meanwhile, she meets guy #3, and they start a relationship. Julia and #3 move to New York, where #3 starts working long hours and becomes involved in some dubious hedge fund deals. Julia, annoyed, hooks up with #2 again (but doesn’t break it off with #3). Julia heads home for Thanksgiving, disgruntled with both #2 and #3. Guess who she meets in her hometown? #1!

God. I could go on but honestly, this story promised so much yet delivered a plot that was trite and obvious, and characters that were basic. In fact, the story was so one-dimensional that it was just one big rich-white-people-cliche. And it was clunky. And irritating.

I almost abandoned The Futures – aside from the fact that it’s a first-world-problems story, Pitoniak spells out every single thing for her reader (perhaps assuming we’re as dumb as Julia?) –

“I could never marry Evan. Never, ever. Evan wasn’t someone I could have a life with. We were too different, and he didn’t care about me. That’s why it felt so natural, sliding into this new thing with Adam. Evan and I were clearly headed for a breakup. It was only a question of time. So why didn’t I rip the bandage off? Why keep living with someone for whom I felt nothing? Ending things would have kept me from cheating on Evan. It would have prevented so much of the collateral damage. But that decision would have taken conviction. Planning and execution. And frankly, it would have required that I find my own place to live, which was annoying and prohibitively expensive.”

FFS. Go on living with someone, and cheating on them, because you can’t be bothered looking in the classifieds? Yeah, that’s mature.

It was the occasional glimpses of New York and a few insights into that weird time between finishing university and starting a job (when you’re in a panicked limbo), that kept me reading until the bitter end –

“In New York, we settled into a routine along with our friends, accruing habit fast. We all endured the same things: shoe-box apartments, crowded subways, overpriced groceries, indifferent bosses. What kept everyone going was the dream: store windows on Madison Avenue, brownstones lit golden in the night, town cars gliding across the park.”

2/5 Boring and obvious.

I received my copy of The Futures from the publisher, Little, Brown & Company, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Julia buys Evan a chicken, mozzarella and bacon sandwich. I think it was the best bit in the book.


16 responses

    • Haha! You’re right. The main guy (Evan) wasn’t much better – idiotic and thoughtless although he doesn’t cheat on Julia at every opportunity, so I guess that’s something…

  1. Yeah, we prefer stuffing our oversized mouths with wondrous, gargantuan pastrami on rye sandwiches from a classic NYC deli to the pride of Down Under…Vegemite.

  2. Agree. Boring and obvious, though easy reading.
    BUT – I do have to speak from experience that lots of people in NYC stay in relationships far longer than they should b/c when she says finding another place to live is “annoying and prohibitively expensive,” it’s true to an unimaginable degree in NYC.
    Landlords generally require you to make some huge number (I’m talking like 50x here) times the monthly rent to rent to you without a guarantor (meaning your parents co-sign the lease) and even then, your parents have to do very well to qualify to be your guarantor. When I moved there right out of college, the only people who could get apartments in Manhattan that weren’t co-signed by a guarantor were the people working in finance…no other industry pays enough at the entry level to make it work. And – I haven’t even mentioned the broker’s fee, which is usually 1,000’s.
    It’s truly shocking compared to getting an apartment in other cities. And I just realized I have no idea where you’re from or if you’ve ever lived in NYC – so if you have then I apologize for this whole comment since you prob already know all this – haha!

    • I live in Melbourne, Australia but have been to NYC a few times so know that it’s an insanely expensive city (although didn’t know about guarantors for leases). In terms of that one, throwaway line in the book, it made Julia seem even more shallow than she already was. I’ll look forward to your review!

  3. That quote is a deal breaker for me. I’ve read some excellent books that deal with cheating but that? That is so lazy and eye-rolling that I can’t even be bothered to give this one a try. Thanks for saving me the hassle. 🙂

  4. Great review! I’m more than halfway through this one and I am thinking of dropping it because it’s starting to feel like work. I can’t believe the good reviews this book has received. Describing is as “dazzling” – is that a joke? It had become incredibly tedious for me. The only thing that keeps me going, at this point, is – as a writer myself – to learn what NOT to do.

  5. Pingback: 2017: What I Read | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

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