ARC Book Review: We Play Ourselves
We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman is a dark humored novel that addresses an equally dark reality of the desperate hunger for success and what lengths some people will go to achieve it. After a scandal, Cass leaves the playwright world of New York and escapes to LA to hide from it all, until she's pulled into filming a 'fight club but with girls' movie. Cass' desperation for success blinds her to the manipulation going on, while simultaneously getting manipulated herself, until one of the girls in the film goes missing.
Not knowing much of the playwright world, the book was interesting to begin with as it explained the struggles, stress, and joy of a world onstage. Cass' story is messy, she's easily manipulated with ideas of success and awards. If someone handed you a chance of success, of your biggest and wildest dreams coming true, regardless of how you would achieve it, of course most people would jump at the chance. The desperation is realistic, relatable, and even though it's plain to see how Cass' partner on the film, Caroline, is a class-A cunning and scheming person, how easy it can be to follow that or ignore it if that means achieving your goals.
There's also a type of parallel story to Cass as she begins to see herself in one of the girls, which leads her through a path of understanding and growth, which I feel demonstrates the title of 'playing ourselves.'
With this, there's lot of dark humor that follows, especially with Cass' scandal. While it's a bit comical, no one can deny her anguished reasoning when she's neck deep in her need for success. The writing itself has humorous moments, and the dialogue is a perfect take on how teenagers can speak.
This book definitely touches on some dark topics, as well. Be warned of some violence, mentions of sexual assault and abuse, suicide talk, and manipulation.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed its dark but realistic take on the world of success and how you can learn to love less than you have.
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
We Play Ourselves releases February 9th, 2021!
Where to purchase:
Check with your local Indie Book Stores!