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Book Review: "No One Belongs Here More Than You" by Miranda July

by Annie Kapur 16 days ago in literature · updated 16 days ago

0/5 - there's really no point in trying with this one...

I love prose that loses itself in its own sense of deeper meaning. Among the ages, we have so many different ones to choose from, and it goes from Oscar Wilde and before him all the way down to David Foster Wallace and after. Unfortunately, Miranda July falls absolutely nowhere within that and instead of being lost in its own sense of deeper meaning, the prose comes off as repetitive and bland after a while. Her writing does not take long to go almost completely and utterly stale. The book falls flat whilst there are still other books, written about similar subjects, that are out there and more worth your time to read.

The first thing I did not like about the writing style was the images of irrelevant trauma. Every next story was some conventionally attractive middle class lady who was on the verge of self-destruction. I'm sorry, since when is someone concerned that much about the way they look when they are literally on the verge of a psychotic breakdown? I thought that the characters of her stories were not just somewhat lazy - they were empty. All these women seem to behave ineptly as if they are simply overgrown children and there is something very strange about that - as if this is supposed to be something not just about the experience, but about the way the woman looks to those around her. As if that is important when you're self-destructing. It felt like a man writing what women's 'rock bottom' looks like and it's some skinny rich lady in her underwear smoking a cigarette at two in the morning whilst her living room is a little bit of a mess. Seriously, this is simply bad writing. If you want good writing about women on the edge, then I suggest you go and read Ottessa Moshfegh - her books Eileen and Lapvona are far better (even though in the latter, it's more about men...the mother is still there though and she is definitely on the edge).

The next thing I did not like about these stories is that as you went on, the tone got repetitive. It's extremely hipster. It's very much trying to sound a lot smarter than it actually is. It's like someone threw up Infinite Jest on to your only copy of Fight Club and a framed picture of Kurt Cobain in your etsy shopping bag and expected it to turn into a magical elf or something. There is a lot of words used to say very, very little. These strange 'abnormalities' that the writer talks about happening are actually called something in the real world - 'criminal behaviour'. Yes, it includes these stupid and overused plot devices: sexual assault, pedophilia and so much more. As if the 80s did not give us enough of that, Miranda July has come to give you more - it's just that she's actually really bad at writing it too - so that's something else at least.

The last thing I did not like was the fact that some of these psychological issues that the characters have are supposed to be passed off as 'quirky personality traits' - it's starting to sound like it was written by tumblr. Not by a person on tumblr, by the website. At least a person on tumblr would have the common sense to think that this was probably a bad idea. Miranda July has done surface level research on to some very serious mental health conditions and instead of expressing them as parts of the characters' everday lives, she instead passes them off as 'quirky' to avoid going into more depth because she clearly doesn't know what she's talking about.

Anyways, I'm glad I didn't spend a long time reading this book and I'm glad I didn't buy it either. Here are some alternative books that do the same thing Miranda July is doing here, but much much better in terms of their character development, writing and possibly whatever else you can think of that constitutes as a good book:

  • Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Tenth of December by George Saunders
  • The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes
  • The Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women by Angela Carter
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler


About the author

Annie Kapur

Film and Writing (M.A)

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IG: @AnnieApproximately

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