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Book Review: “Days of Distraction”

Days of Distraction

Alexandra Chang

Hardcover, 320 pages

Publication Date:  March 31, 2020

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Contemporary fiction

I read “Days of Distraction” a couple of weeks ago and purposefully saved it as my last book review. If there was ever a book for our present time, this is it. It is not the story of a pandemic, but rather a young woman who, being a few years out of college, is still trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. Things are not going well.

She is stuck in a job growing worse by the day. Her boyfriend is about to go to grad school, and while she plans to move wherever he does, she is beginning to rethink their entire relationship. All she knows is something needs to change.

Things do begin to change, as the narrator—whose name is never directly revealed—ends up moving far from her home in California. To her disappointment, the answers she is seeking about her life do not suddenly appear with the change in scenery. She still is unfulfilled in her job, still undecided about her boyfriend and moving away from the diversity in California has caused her to consider her Chinese-American identity in ways she has never had to before.

The writing for the majority of “Days of Distraction” does an excellent job of mirroring the narrator’s emotions. Told in brief snippets at a time, her frustrations pile up alongside her inability to meaningfully change her life. The subtle desperation made it a difficult read at times, but the story did not get bogged down in its sadness.

I felt for the narrator; her issues embody many of the same problems facing young adults today. I wanted her to succeed and get what she wanted out of life, and while I will not give away if she did that or not, all the events felt realistic. The characters evolve, but they do not completely change from who they were at the beginning. It was a believable story, something I think is important when the entire story takes place inside one person’s head.

Are you pondering where to go from here, who you are as a person and who you want to become? “Days of Distraction” will keep you company. While it is divided up into five sections rather than chapters, it is easy to get lost in, and Alexandra Chang created a readable story with three-dimensional characters. I was pleasantly surprised to find out this is her debut, and I encourage you to check it out.

It has been my pleasure reviewing books for the Talon these past couple of years. While this is my last review, new books will still be covered going forward. Thank you for reading.

Paige Holmes is a senior journalism major from Topeka, KS. Reading is her favorite thing to do because it teaches one how to think, imagine and live. Paige believes there is no better way to learn something or be entertained than by reading a book. Her favorite genre of books is fantasy/thriller and her favorite book is ‘Opening Moves’ by Steven James.

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