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  • Writer's pictureLynne McConway

Book review: Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Ripe is an excellent exploration of one millennial woman's struggle with the modern world.

A copy of Ripe sitting on top of two books with a snake plant in the background

Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter is about Cassie, a millennial woman in America who is a year into her dream job at a tech company in Silicon Valley.

She moved across the country for this job - her dad continues to tell her that, in terms of her home town ‘there’s nothing for you here.’ It soon becomes clear that there is nothing for Cassie in her new life, either.

Her dream has soured - her job is unrelenting, her boss and co-workers are toxic, she’s sleeping with a man in an open relationship. The setting of San Francisco with its glaring inequities, literally on Cassie’s doorstep, reflects her own troubled state of mind.

Since she was young, Cassie has been aware of a black hole that follows her, expanding and contracting alongside her anxiety and depression. When she is asked to cross unethical lines at work and reaches a personal crisis, the black hole threatens to swallow her whole.

I really enjoyed Ripe and Etter’s writing. Cassie’s story is dark and could be a heavy read but the writing is fresh and incisive and draws us into Cassie’s life. Ripe reminded me of Naoise Dolan’s Exciting Times and Luster by Raven Leilani in its portrayal of millennial women trying to build a life while living through late-stage capitalism.

Thanks to NetGalley for an advance reader copy of Ripe, available at the link below from 8 August 2023.


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