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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Interesting Facts about Space by Emily Austin

I loved Enid's complicated, loving mother-daughter relationship as well as her best-friendship. But I was distracted by what felt like uneven pacing, multiple willfully delayed resolutions, and slapstick-seeming scenarios.

In Emily Austin's Interesting Facts about Space, Enid is obsessed with space, and she could talk all day about black holes and the universe. She uses the sharing of space facts to deflect from emotions, uncomfortable situations, and facing the truth.

In her spare time, Enid loves true crime podcasts and dates a variety of women from dating apps. She's beginning to understand that she's coping with past trauma that she's blocked; that she has social anxiety; that she has phobias and isn't clear on their roots; and that she's operating under a consistently high level of stress.

Meanwhile she's trying to come to terms with the death of her previously absent father--and build relationships with her estranged half-sisters. Her quirky, beloved mother struggles with depression, and Enid struggles to keep an eye on her.

Enid is exploring a new love interest when she becomes consumed by the idea that someone is following her. (And the stalker seems to have her most feared quality: he's a bald man.) Is this a paranoia inspired by her podcast listening? Or is someone really after her?

I was intrigued by the book's premise, and I loved the science facts Enid spouted off at times, but in general, the story's tone frequently felt oddly zany, and the pacing felt uneven to me.

At times the novel was so absurd as to seem slapstick, so that the important issues underlying the story were potentially poignant but not actually (for me) so. The bald-man phobia and the stalker premise were each so over the top in their willfully delayed resolutions, I felt myself growing irritated.

I loved the idea of a complicated, imperfect, thrillingly expanding unconventional family. I loved the mother-daughter love. And I loved Enid's best-friendship. But I thought Enid's romantic "love," when it was called such, felt juvenile in that it seemed superficial, based on brief and limited connection, attraction, interest, and knowledge.

I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Atria Books.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Emily Austin is also the author of Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead.


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