How Could She tackles societal pressures, biological clocks, jealousy, infidelity and more in an insightful yet comfortable manner ... Mechling has a gift for creating elaborate, realistic pretense and then marching straight through it with a machete, slicing it to bits in a way that is both shocking and frankly fun. How Could She is not so much plot-driven as it is a study of dynamics ... Mechling excels at creating realistically complex hopes, needs and disappointments ... How Could She is the perfect summer read. It’s entertaining, insightful and at times agonizingly true to life.
... tenderly caustic ... This is a book about white literary Brooklyn, and Americans who start every conversation with What do you do? and have trouble finishing one without letting you know where they went to college ... The quantity of backstabbing gossip at parties and happy hours in this book would qualify it as a comedy of manners, but it’s lite on laughs. Mechling doesn’t slide into parody or satire, but she doesn’t shy away from the details that allow it ... a more honest approach to how boring party conversation really is, how surface and unintellectual our thoughts. Petty insights are the backbone of this book ... The novel does not render an emotional world that brings us to our knees. It’s more like she’s making a case for rejiggering chick lit as the cruelest genre ... I found this book completely satisfying as an office novel.
There are few surprises in Lauren Mechling’s How Could She...but that doesn’t detract from the novel’s wit and spritzy entertainment ... In the lineage of Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City and, well before that, Edith Wharton’s novels of New York status-striving, How Could She is enjoyably rich in taxonomic details about fashion, real estate and men. Ms. Mechling is fluent in the milieu of East Coast corporate media without being unduly impressed by it, and a light-fingered sense of satire accompanies her set-piece business lunches and dinner parties where jealous psychodramas ... The ever-shifting media landscape is a fitting backdrop for Ms. Mechling’s trenchant look at the subjective nature of status envy.