Click here to read reviewer Melissa Parcel's take on Chloe Does Yale.
College student and aspiring writer Natalie Krinsky found her niche at Yale University by penning a weekly sex-advice column in the Yale Daily News. Her column not only garnered an enthusiastic fan base that extended beyond Yale, but she became known as a campus expert on dating, sex, and relationships. Based on her success, it comes as no surprise that she uses this experience as the basis for her debut novel Chloe Does Yale.
There is no doubt that Krinsky is a talented young writer. Drawing from her personal experience certainly pays off, as she successfully infuses her first novel with a fresh and honest view of college life as presented through her fictional alter-ego, Chloe Carrington. While her book chronicles the evolution of her sex column, the responses she gets to the publication and how it impacts her personal life, her book covers everything from classes, to deciding which bars to frequent, to her interactions with stereotypical college students that anyone with a college degree will find all too familiar. Yale alumni will likely relish in the reminders of their college days as Krinsky details the local campus bars. While I have never visited the bars she describes, I can certainly pinpoint the comparable establishments that surround my alma matter.
The controversial subjects she chooses for her columns, coupled with the fact that she is presenting them to college students, create a compelling story that begs to be told. I was interested in reading her columns, but the irony is that this interest lead me to my main criticism of her novel. Specifically, Krinsky’s fatal flaw is not her lack of an interesting story but her failure to fully tell it. She does presents a solid and entertaining story about college life, but the problem is that I was hoping for a stellar story—her story—that has not been tackled before. Her book is a good one, but Krinsky would have received much more praise had she focused less of the already-told ins and outs of college life and more on her work as a relationship guru that gave her the foundation for her novel in the first place.
Krinsky found her niche at Yale when she decided to write a sex column, and her fictional debut strongly suggests she will find a solid fan base for her novels. While I do not think that this book will get her to where she wants to be, it certainly is a step in the right direction.