I used to date a musician who wrote a lot of his songs, often drawing upon life experiences and yes, our relationship. I think this is what immediately drew me to Andrea Stein’s debut novel, Typecast. I think a lot of people love the idea of someone writing a song, or film, about you, until it actually happens. You lose control over your own narrative, and naturally the story gets further embellished to make for good listening or watching. Even if it sheds you in the most positive light, things change and so it becomes a reminder of a relationship that doesn’t exist anymore.
Typecast switches between before Callie’s breakup with Ethan, and her life after, a decade later. You learn more about their relationship and how it impacted her, and yet you’re still trying to unravel why the relationship ended so abruptly.
Ethan is now a screenwriter and he’s written a film about their breakup, which is heading to cinemas across the country. Callie is a preschool teacher who hasn’t found a fulfilling relationship since their mysterious breakup. Is this film a chance for a reconciliation? Is this film a chance for Ethan to air their dirty laundry?
What I loved most about this book was the focus on Callie’s own journey. It wasn’t her choosing between Ethan and a new love interest, it was Callie working out what she wants in life, where things went wrong for her. It was about her own identity rather than just choosing a man.
There was also a big focus on her relationship with her older sister Nina, who has moved into Callie’s home with her husband and daughter while her house is renovated. Nina is having complications with her pregnancy, which only serves to exasperate their strained relationship. I have two older sisters so I loved seeing how accurately that love-hate relationship is portrayed. The interactions between the two sisters was a highlight of this book.
That isn’t to say that this book is devoid of any romance, as Callie does meet the devishly handsome architect handling Nina’s renovations…
I think we’ve all wondered ‘what if?’ about choices we’ve made in the past. What if I had moved to that place? What if I hadn’t ended that relationship? What if I had left my comfort zone? I love books like Typecast that show a character grappling with this common struggle, and show that whatever path you choose, you find the right destination for you. I loved getting to follow Callie as she grapples with this ‘what if?’ and also finally opens up about a lot of things that happened. I felt really close to the character by the end, and was sad to see the book end.
If you’re looking for a comforting read that isn’t focused solely on romance, I definitely recommend trying Typecast. It’ll be released on the 13th of September, 2022 but you can already preorder your copy!
Thank you Andrea and Girl Friday Books for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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