In Emily Gould's novel, two women try to cope with New York's cruelties
by Emily Gould
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
$26.00 List Price
Emily Gould bolted to local media fame seven years ago as a Gawker blogger. She wrote scathing posts about writers, celebrities, and anyone else who happened to come in for online scrutiny on a given day. She was funny. She was reckless. She was really good at being really mean. She was twentysomething and photogenic, and when she appeared on CNN, Jimmy Kimmel told her she had a decent chance of going to hell. I met her around this time at an event she was covering at the New York Public Library, and the first thing she said to me was that she’d heard going out with me made a mutual friend of ours puke and cry. It wasn’t exactly true (the real causes were, respectively, too much vodka and some other guy), but it was a way of getting straight to it that made me figure we’d be either friends or enemies for life.
Gould quit professional blogging after a year and wrote about the experience for the New York Times Magazine. (Perhaps because she appeared on its cover, she became a minor figure of gossip herself.) A $200,000 deal for a book of essays resulted. And the Heart Says Whatever was published in 2010. A few months ago, she wrote about the book’s failure in the marketplace: It sold eight thousand copies, “about a fifth of what it needed to sell not to be considered a flop.” But selling wasn’t the only thing on her mind:
Imagine me three years later, watching the premiere of Girls for free on YouTube and reaching the scene in which Lena Dunham, whose character is writing a book of autobiographical essays and trying to convince her parents that she needs to