Snowflake by Louise Nealon: A clever coming-of-age novel

Book review: This college-life narrative has an eye for comedy even when the narrator is enjoying a moment of self-pity

Louise Nealon has the knack of neat similes.

Louise Nealon has the knack of neat similes.

“Acquired in a six-figure pre-empt,” says the back cover. “TV and film rights sold to... the team behind Normal People.” The title has an asterisk, explaining inside the flap that “snowflake” means “sensitive, complicated, intense, flawed”. The first sentence of “about the author” tells us that she is 27. Snowflake is a novel by a young woman who studied English at Trinity about a young woman studying English at Trinity. 

The narrator’s mental health is fragile, she doesn’t keep up with her classes and she’s given to sexual misadventures that make her feel worse. A reader might think that we have seen this before, and also that the marketing at least is directed towards a demographic into which many readers of The Irish Times probably do not fall.

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