I’ve seen this said a million times already, but it cannot be said enough: I firmly believe that Chloe Seager is the new Louise Rennison. Editing Emma follows the story of one teenage girl’s painfully awkward descent into adulthood, elicited by being ‘ghosted’ by her boyfriend. The plot sees Emma desperately trying to replace Leon, the ghost-er, if you will, and navigate the increasingly tricky world of online dating.
The sharp, sarcastic British humour we all know and love is woven into every aspect of the story, and reading this book is like discovering a blogger that you can’t help but follow online. Parts of Emma’s journey are so horrifically, toe-curlingly awkward that you can’t help but cringe for her, yet Seager’s writing keeps the reading experience as light and humorous as possible. The book is fast-paced, and the unique structure of the story being divided into blog posts really kept me engaged and wanting to find out what happened next. I reckon the fact that it’s broken up into smaller sections would make it an ideal choice for those of us who, like me, sometimes struggle with memory and concentration.
In addition, the story effectively highlights some of the issues associated with growing up in the social media era, making me question my own social media usage and just how much we ‘edit’ ourselves online, often without really realising what we’re doing.
I did have one concern with the story, and it was a pretty big one: Emma’s mum mentioning in passing that she thinks she has ‘a mild case of ME’, and Emma dismissing this as hypochondria. As a moderate ME sufferer myself, it took me a while to puzzle this little segment out; was this intended to comically portray Emma’s mum as an exaggerator who couldn’t possibly have an illness as severe as ME, or was this a dig at ME sufferers, linking the condition to hypochondria? I discussed this with some of my poorly pals on Twitter, and the consensus was the latter: at first read, it seemed to them that it reflected badly on those with the condition.
HOWEVER, I later found out that this was not the intention at all. After finishing the book, I had the opportunity to chat to Chloe Seager, who was beyond lovely and keen to clear up any confusion. Here’s what she had to say:
‘The point for me was to make it clear that ME is a very real problem for sufferers, and to make it clear to the reader that Emma’s Mum doesn’t have it. Her suspicion that she has a ‘mild case of ME’ wasn’t meant to dismiss ME as hypochondria – it was meant to show how incorrect it is that her Mum suspects she might have it.
Though it is because of her slight hypochondria, she has wrongly interpreted her normal amount of tiredness as a ‘mild case of ME’ and I wanted to highlight this misconception of the condition’.
Chloe also mentioned that she personally knew people with ME, and saw how much both the stigma around the condition and the illness itself affected them. She apologised that it hadn’t necessarily come across this way in the book, thanked me for coming to her directly to discuss it, and was keen to resolve the situation. Essentially, she couldn’t have been more lovely and helpful about it, which was a bloody relief for little old me who’s still pretty new to the book blogging scene. Personally, I still would have preferred the book if this little section had been omitted (as it didn’t really contribute to the story), just in case any future readers do misinterpret the intention behind it and think less of ME as a result. However, now that I know the real reasoning behind it, I still have an overall positive opinion on the book.
Editing Emma is exactly the kind of story I can imagine young adults reading, relating to (whether they admit it or not…) and passing on to their friends. I’d definitely recommend having a read of this one if you enjoy YA fiction brimming with comedy, characters that make you feel better about your own awkward life moments, and the occasional swipe right on Tinder.