This story is about a woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and spurned by her lover. The story begins with Esme Garland, who is a student from England on scholarship in New York City, pursuing a doctorate in Art History at Columbia University. She is thrilled to be studying in New York City and devotes a lot of time and effort to pursuing her degree. While in this new city, she meets a native New Yorker by the name of Mitchell van Leuven.
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Mitchell is from an entirely different social class than Esme. His entire family is well known end established, coming from the wealth of generations back. Mitchell has the arrogance and entitlement that tends to come from wealth. He treats Esme badly, and is presented as someone who does not reveal very much about himself.
This relationship is the main focus of most of the beginning and middle of the story. Their relationship is tumultuous, with Esme questioning certain parts of the relationship while still feeling privileged to be dating someone of his status. She is so in love that she overlooks the warning signs of the downhill slide of their relationship.
Esme becomes pregnant with his child, and just when she is about to inform him, he promptly dumps her saying sex with her is boring, comparing it to the excitement of a cup of tea. She longs for him for a while, staying afloat mainly through the job she maintains at a small used bookstore she frequented, called the Owl.
It is through her relationships with her coworkers and supervisor at the Owl that she is able to deal with everything. She bonds particularly with a taciturn guitar player named Luke and her gregarious boss named George. Through this position and the relationships she has formed, she is able to understand her feelings about the pregnancy and herself.
The end of the novel culminates in her decision to tell Mitchell about the pregnancy when he starts talking to her again, and what kind of relationship she wants to have with him.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really liked this story because of the focus on Esme's search to find a solution to a tough situation and the focus on dialogue and characters, while still providing plenty of descriptions of New York City.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Esme Garland runs into Mitchell van Leuven after they had been broken up and she tells him she is pregnant when he wants to get back together with her.
Opinion about the main character:
What I liked the most about Esme Garland was the way she handled herself in the face of adversity, her intelligence, her thoughtfulness, and her love of art, literature, and New York City.