I spent my lunch break reading this and while I still love it, sometimes it seems like Jane Borden doesn't know the exact type of Williamsburg, Brooklyn cliche that she is. Struggling young person from a small town loving the anonymity and unpredictability of city life, sure. But she also comes across sometimes as one of New York's most loathable types: rich hipster tourist kid slumming it with "the real people" for a few years so as to pretend to be interesting even though he or she will be returning to his or her world of shelter and privilege soon enough.
But still. I find her New York references less annoying than those of say Peter Hedges or Gary Shteyngart, maybe because rather than being throwaway in jokes or just plain pointless, they actually add something to her story if you're familiar with, say, the J train or The Abbey.
Example: "After leaving Black Betty, John and I popped by a new bar in the building next to mine on Bedford Avenue. But we stopped short in the doorway; something was slightly off. It was too loud to be so empty. And it was a bit too, if this is possible, red. Plus, the bartender eyed us desperately. It was like the bar was trying to be a bar, instead of being a bar. And it was trying too hard."
I know that place. I spent part of my 30th birthday there, before I moved to New York. Later, a friend arranged to meet an Internet date there, not knowing they'd be showing porn on the big projection screens in the back.
I'm completely not kidding, and, yes, that is her entire description of the bar, and, yes, I'm sure I have the right place. Who's the Brooklyn jerk now, we ask ourselves.