Everyone thinks that New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world. If you try to tell me you don’t agree, I won’t believe you. That’s like saying, “Jon Hamm isn’t attractive,” or “I don’t know, I just don’t like pizza all that much.” You’re categorically wrong. This isn’t subjective.
That being said, I probably couldn’t handle living in NYC (or any city of comparable size). Being that close to other humans brings out the worst parts of my anxiety (hell is other people, right?) and I’m just a mid-size city girl, thanks. I do totally want to live in New York City as it appears in movies from the 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s, though. If New York was just Mia Farrow living in some crazy big apartment and Michael Caine running down the street while wearing huge glasses and a fur collared coat and Liza Minnelli shoplifting things and Gregory Hines rollerskating through Central Park, then yeah. I would live in any city that could offer me those things.
That was all a rambly prelude that barely relates to what I’m about to say. Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York is a truly odd NYC book by Gail Parent (who also wrote Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, FYI). Written in the 1970′s, the book follows unlucky in love (and life) Sheila Levine as she tries to live in New York City. The book is mostly about how Sheila Levine is planning to kill herself (hence the “dead” in the title). I really admire any film/book that uses suicide as a comedy plot point (Harold and Maude, Better Off Dead) because, honestly, what could be less funny? This book is kind of like if Bridget Jones was Jewish and living in the 70′s and in NYC and way more depressed. Also, it was made into a film starring the wife from The Heartbreak Kid (the good one with Charles Grodin, guys. Not the new one. Gross). It makes New York sound really terrible and really exciting all at the same time. It simultaneously makes me wish I lived in New York and glad that I don’t. Do you guys think Lena Dunham’s read this book?
*In order, those films are: Rosemary’s Baby, Hannah and Her Sisters, Arthur, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. Classics all!