Now at the very tail end of my 20s I can say, with utmost certainty, that all the things you hear about how hard it is to date in a big city are… completely true. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to anyone out there who, at 22, is still holding out hope that dating in your 20s will be one of the easier things you’ll do in this decade. I mean, sure, you might get lucky and stick with your college partner forever. But if you’re anything like me — and Meg Fee, author of the new essay collection Places I Stopped On the Way Home — that just won’t be the case. But if you ever needed a book that would be both relatable as hell when you’re in your lowest dating woes, and act as the most soothing balm for heartbreak, then you need to add this book in your life.
And that in itself becomes the thesis for her debut collection, the thread that holds all of her stories from New York City together — from falling in ill-fated love at Lincoln Center to escaping the roommate from hell on Thompson Street and chasing happiness and fulfillment everywhere from Harlem to Greenwich Village. Fee writes with stunning honesty about everything from her dating misadventures to career struggles to her years-long battle with an eating disorder. And she captures every bit of it with a naked yearning for more, for better, that is at times utterly breathtaking in its simplicity — most especially when it comes to heartbreak, and love, and her life-defining pursuit thereof.
In a passage about a recent break-up, for instance, Fee writes:
Places I Stopped On The Way Home by Meg Fee, $17.53, Amazon
it is in these small moments captured that Fee’s voice truly shines; she somehow manages to turn the mundanity of the every day struggles into something full of meaning, something meant to be explored in the search for clarity. The structure of the book, too, not chronological so much as it hops from place to place — The D Train, 57th & 3rd, Lispenard Street — lends itself to these quiet moments of reflection. Each experience, each relationship, each apartment, is captured as a snapshot, a moment in time leading to another and creating a life. And this life, Fee’s life thus far, is offered up not so much as a cautionary tale but as a lesson, one both learned and still learning.
And if that’s all you truly learn from Places I Stopped On The Way Home, well, maybe that’s just about enough.
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