After You Watch 'Fleabag,' Pick Up These 11 Books
You can't log on to Twitter these days without seeing someone talking about the Amazon Original series Fleabag. The show (which first premiered in the U.K.) follows the dry-witted Fleabag, a young British woman attempting to navigate modern life in London while trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy. Played by the show's creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag is sexually liberated, irritable at the state of the world, awkward, and unsure — like so very many of the women I know and love. The show is a funny, heartbreaking, complicated take on the experiences of modern womanhood, as well as an honest and inventive story about coping with grief, battling loneliness, and refusing to succumb to either.
Like Fleabag, the 11 books below explore one or more of the following: women's sexuality, sisterhood and female friendship, life after trauma, forbidden romance, urban alienation, and disaffected adulthood. And all straddle the line between laugh-out-loud and deeply affecting dark humor, bringing the raw experiences of modern womanhood to light. Whether you've already marathoned the show's two seasons or are just getting acquainted Fleabag's unique brand of off-beat humor now, you're sure to find a handful of new books with similar themes to add to your growing summer reading list:
'Queenie' by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman straddling two cultures, grappling with career woes, and looking for comfort from past traumas in all the wrong places.
'Normal People' by Sally Rooney
Exploring the subtleties of class, the complexities of friendship and family, and the nature of all-encompassing first love, this novel tracks a relationship between Marianne and Connell over several years, from high school to college.
'The New Me' by Halle Butler
This biting satirical novel follows 30-year-old Millie, who spends her days working at a thankless job and her nights watching TV. But when a "better life" finally seems within reach, it comes with the paralyzing realization of how hollow life has become.
'Promising Young Women' by Caroline O'Donoghue
Jane is 26, recently single, adrift at her job, and about to plunge head-first into an affair that could jeopardize her friendships, her career, and even her life.
'The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky' by Jana Casale
After an awkward conversation, Lena decides she wants to read Noam Chomsky. So she promptly buys a book and never reads it. As the decades of the rest of her life unfold, she confronts what she really wants and who she really is.
'Vacuum in the Dark' by Jen Beagin
Mona is a 26-year-old house cleaner in Taos, New Mexico, where she moved to escape a bad boyfriend and memories of her troubled childhood. But darkness and instability have followed her, and she will need to embark on a journey of self-discovery.
'Paulina & Fran' by Rachel B. Glaser
Paulina is striking and sexually adventurous — a queen bee with a mean-girl streak. Fran is quirky, sweet, and sexually innocent. The girls are drawn together, but their bond is wracked by complications.
'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant is socially awkward and isolated from the world. But when she and Raymond, the IT guy from her office, save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three form a life-changing friendship.
'The Pisces' by Melissa Broder
If you thought a forbidden romance with a priest was wild, try one with a merman. After Lucy hits rock bottom she heads to Venice Beach, where she finds no peace from her anxiety — until she meets an eerily attractive swimmer on the beach.
'The Learning Curve' by Mandy Berman
When friends Fiona (coping with her sister's death by sleeping with abrasive men she meets in bars) and Liv (happily coupled) embark on a love triangle with their charismatic professor, it alters all their lives.
'In at the Deep End' by Kate Davies (June 4)
Julia hasn’t had sex in three years, her therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and she’s treading water in a dead-end job. But when she meets a woman at a warehouse party, her sexual awakening begins.