cover image Really Good, Actually

Really Good, Actually

Monica Heisey. Morrow, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-323541-0

Comedian and TV writer Heisey delivers an appealing debut novel (after the essay collection I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better) about a 28-year-old stalled PhD candidate left adrift after her divorce. Maggie’s former husband, Jon, departs with their cat, and, despite their mutual promises to have a “Good Divorce,” Jon is soon incommunicado, and Maggie is surprised by how much she struggles with being alone. She stays up most nights streaming crime shows she terms “British murder television” and is disappointed that she remains “annoyingly committed” to habits such as ordering late-night burgers. Maggie progresses to online dating (the men in Maggie’s area of Toronto are “bearded and left-leaning”), and after striking out there, she tries exercise classes and creative writing workshops, but wherever she joins up, she’s “wall to wall with the recently dumped.” Later, the grief for her marriage morphs into a kind of self-obsessed nihilism that alienates her closest friends and torpedoes a burgeoning relationship with a nice guy. Even in its darkest moments the book is very funny, and Heisey’s inspired skewering of urban millennial life hits the mark. Readers will gobble up this Bridget Jones’s Diary for the smartphone era. Agent: Marya Spence, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Jan.)