MixedColumbia JournalThe greatest strength of the novel is Rooney’s play with distance. She brings the reader so close to her characters—we are inside of their inboxes again, after all—only to hold back at key moments that, if elucidated, could unlock some of the mystery of the will-they-or-won’t-they engine ... Almost every second chapter is an email. Structurally, this means longer paragraphs; narratively, this means more interiority. It’s not as bad as it sounds: Rooney is good at email ... The significance of the emails between Alice and Eileen—which are long, thoughtful and frequent—is undercut by the mean things they have to say to each other when they finally meet up again in person. This deflation makes it harder to believe that the emails meant much to anyone except the individual writer herself. Perhaps Rooney is commenting on what it means to be online and how textual closeness doesn’t always translate to good hugs. Mostly it’s just sort of embarrassing ... will feel familiar to Rooney fans because of the pangs of longing, email exchanges, and haircuts with bangs featured throughout. The surprise comes in the novel’s closing email, where Eileen writes to Alice about refusing to be afraid of her own body in the face of climate change. If the sense of optimism feels pat, it is because readers have come to know the twinge of pain underscoring even the happiest moments of the author’s past protagonists. But there is no irony in the earnestness of this novel’s close. Rooney announces the beautiful world is here, and we are in it. Yes, everything is covered in plastic! But we still love our friends! Eileen responds in the final email: \'I know in a thin rationalist way that what I’m saying doesn’t make any sense. But I feel it, I feel it, and I know it to be true.\' It’s not ecstatic or wretched; yet, we too can believe.
RaveColumbia JournalIrby’s collection shows a little more vulnerability and a little less deflection than her previous books. She has a way of making you feel close to her ... essays that are pithy, laugh-until-you-bend-over-funny and insightful ... Irby’s signature sardonic voice nibbles playfully at your ear from the first page ... She has a way of convincing you that, though she’s not saying she is, she is right ... Though she refuses to do research and continues to embarrass herself, this collection may be Irby’s best yet ... Notoriously \'gross,\' Irby’s writing hits new levels of emotional resonance in Wow, No Thank You with a kind of pulling back of the comedy curtain she writes behind ... Irby writes, \'Nothing is more embarrassing than unbridled enthusiasm\' and yet that is what I have, unabashedly, for her.