Title: Anna K
Author: Jenny Lee
Published: 3rd March 2020
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.
Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.
As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
I obtained this book from Legenbooksdary as she was giving away her arcs and I chose this book specifically because I am obsessed with Anna Karenina.
Okay, perhaps saying I was obsessed is a bit much considering I have yet to read the actual book but in my defense what hooked me with Anna’s story was the Russian movie adaptation of Anna Karenina.
Bruh, I watched that movie maybe 15 years ago, so long ago I truly cannot remember where and when and how I even got to watch this Russian movie but when Anna flung herself in front of that train… That scene stuck by me… It definitely made a home in the recesses of my brain.
But let’s get started with this book review.
To be quite honest with you, I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It was a pretty meh book for me. I initially thought the book would make engulf me in the throes of family drama but reading it my feelings were more of okay this is boring I do not understand what is the big deal with all these relationships especially the relationship between Anna K and Alexia Vronsky.
And if you as a reader already feel this way regarding the relationships of the main protagonists, it is not a good sign.
I think that my nonchalance on the romances and the drama that ensues in this book is due to the characters being so young. They’re just teenagers and being an adult who is currently unemployed with nothing to look forward to in terms of a career, I honestly cannot relate. I cannot relate to how much stock they put into their romantic lives especially the insta-love that happens between Vronsky and Anna.
I just don’t understand the insta-love thing and how suddenly they’re just so obsessed with each other without any apparent reason.
At least, from what I understand in the Anna Karenina movie, Anna was in a loveless marriage and then she met with Vronsky who swept her off her feet and introduced her to a world and life filled to the brim with passion and love yet the decision she makes to be with him will ultimately seal her fate. By choosing Vronsky, Anna must forgo everything in her life; her children, her social standing, her family’s social standing and even her friends. Essentially she literally has to give up everything to be with this man and that decision eats her up from the inside until she just cracked and throws herself in front of a train.
The decision that Anna K in this book whereby she chose to cheat on her boyfriend to be with Vronsky just because her boyfriend was in an accident and she did not have the heart to break up with him just baffles me. Especially since this book is set in modern day Manhattan and there has been progress and modernization in terms of women’s rights.
Also, in terms of writing, I feel this book was more of a modernisation of Anna Karenina as opposed to a retelling that has its own plot because whilst I may say that I have yet to read Anna Karenina, I did read the first 20 pages and let me tell you that the first chapter of Anna K and the those first 20 pages in the original book is almost identical.
Another issue I find with this book is the ending which in my honest opinion is bullshit. BULLSHIT!
You’re telling me that in this book instead of Anna committing suicide due to the mental stress she has been under, the author changed it to Vronsky sacrificing himself to save Anna so it is he who dies at the end.
I am not saying that the ending should end in any form of suicide or death or whatever. I am just saying that the author had a chance to retell this story in a different manner because it is a retelling.
They could have just allowed both Anna K and Vronsky to live and then expand on the repercussions of their actions which in all honesty would have been an interesting read. Would their relationship withstand that test?
But, they didn’t so thats that.
Overall, this book was a meh with characters that were meh and I give this book a rating of……