It's 2017 at the University of Arkansas. Millie Cousins, a senior resident assistant, wants to graduate, get a job, and buy a house. So when Agatha Paul, a visiting professor and writer, offers Millie an easy yet unusual opportunity, she jumps at the chance. But Millie's starry-eyed hustle becomes jeopardized by odd new friends, vengeful dorm pranks, and illicit intrigue.
Smart ... Complex ... Reid’s exquisitely calibrated tone, which slips tantalizingly between sympathy and satire. She’s so good at capturing both the syrupy support and catty criticism these young women swap, and yet she also demonstrates a profound understanding of their fears and anxieties ... The tension in Come and Get It builds slowly ... You’re in the presence of a master plotter who’s engineering a spectacular intersection of class, racism, academic politics and journalistic ethics.
Reid is a social observer of the highest order, knowing exactly when a small detail or beat of dialogue will resonate beyond the confines of the scene ... She never judges her characters. Her world, like the real one, is populated by people whose shortsightedness lives alongside good intentions ... With her perceptive eye and ear, Reid imbues her novel with the stuff, literally and figuratively, of life ... I found myself thinking of certain writers who have, over the years, elected themselves as 'capital C' Chroniclers of contemporary America. With this book, Reid demonstrates that she deserves a place in the running.
As a chronicler of college life, Reid is on shakier ground. The setup, though, is immaculate ... Given this arch school scenario, the book’s satire is surprisingly tepid. Reid gets the economics and anxieties of university life right; the trouble is that on the heels of a raft of memorable academic set novels and media — among them Rooney’s Normal People and Brandon Taylor’s Real Life — accuracy is not enough. The subject begs for precision and depth. The intersection of class and race, and the fact that white college girls in a theoretically progressive generation weaponize pejorative, racist terms like 'ghetto' are hardly revelations ... In writing that is clever, repetitive, and glib, aggressions micro and macro abound ... the novel’s satirical lens is blurred and flickering. Reid’s focus is trained on patterns and group identities — money, race, and class distinctions — and intergroup dynamics. But her observations are too slight for the wind-up — enough to fill the magazine profiles Agatha writes but not to carry a nearly 400-page novel with sluggish momentum. We need smart campus novels that bravely take on economic precarity and the vagaries of sex, race, and class, but I wanted more from this one. To read Come and Get It is to crave for something more to happen.