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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Wellness by Nathan Hill

Flawed main characters Jack and Elizabeth try to find their way back to an emotional connection in this literary fiction work. Wellness is wry and poignant, and the absurdities of modern life that Hill explores sometimes feel disconcertingly on point.


Jack and Elizabeth are strangers living across an alley in a gritty artists' area of 1990s Chicago, and they're immediately and powerfully drawn to each other.

As they grow older, their mutual rejection of societal expectations begins to soften. They marry, have a baby, and aim to own a house.

But somewhere along the way, they lose sight of each other--and of themselves.

Nathan Hill pokes fun at the absurd extremes of the search for modern wellness and the manipulative power of social media and the order of internet searches.

We learn about Elizabeth and Jack's histories and motivations, their stunted emotional statuses and the deep hurts inflicted upon them. They must dive into their own secrets, trauma, career weaknesses, faulted parents, and fractured families if they have any hope of salvaging their own marriage.

In Wellness, Hill considers partners' sometimes unique views of fulfillment and whether two people can come together in a marriage--changing, growing, and staying happy without subsuming their individual dreams and desires.

Wellness is darkly funny, intriguing, and, at times, poignant. I was frequently uncomfortable reading the grim truths about our world that Hill lays bare, but I smiled at the wry humor here as well.

I listened to Wellness as an audiobook.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Nathan Hill is also the author of The Nix.

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