At the beginning of quarantine, I listened to Maggie Gyllenhaal narrate Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, at 36 hours I figured I had the time. Lots of puzzles were completed, dishes washed, haha. It was a fine read, I was glad to have listened to it and I can understand why so many people love it, but there was far too much about farming and religion for my taste. Still, Tolstoy’s commentary on society is still pertinent today and I enjoyed the story overall.
Enter Anna K. This splendid update drew me in and thrilled me on so many levels. It felt smart and fresh, although so much of the story is a tale as old as time. Usually I’m not a fan of YA romance (nothing against it, but since I became older and a mom I’m just like YOU’RE TOO YOUNG), but I gotta say this one really landed for me. It’s like what the TV show Gossip Girl wished it was. It handles the challenging parts of being a teenager with sensitivity and every character has their own complexity. I also loved the characters had different racial and class backgrounds, making it feel more authentic. I was especially delighted with how she changed up Kitty (she is Kimmie in this book), giving her a thoughtful backstory that added a new layer to a character I was thought was just okay in the original.
I don’t think you have to read Anna Karenina in order to enjoy this, but it definitely added a lot to my own personal experience. Overall the writing in this is sharp and incredibly witty. I gave my copy to my friend and she gobbled it up in a day. I’ll be on the lookout for book 2.
CW: sexual assault, revenge porn, drug abuse, racism, & classism
ID: The book Anna K resting on a white blanket.