With the snow falling fast on a New Hampshire mansion, seven 20-somethings gather for a weekend that will change their lives irrevocably. The extravagant trip to celebrate Will and Jessica’s upcoming nuptials brings together a cast of characters who know each other from Ivy League schools and childhood Upper East Side haunts. There is Lulu, an LA-based Instagram influencer; Maxie, a former Park Avenue princess, now Midwestern housewife; Yael, an ER doctor from Ohio; Rob, a colorless Wall Street trader; Will, a morality-obsessed lawyer; Jessica, Will’s perfectionist bride-to-be; and Alex Sable, a lawless pleasure seeker with refined tastes. Alex, son of a billionaire hedge-fund scion, was the sole witness against his classmate in a serial rape trial 15 years ago, the notoriety of which follows Alex everywhere.
By Will and Jessica’s wedding day, four months later, Alex Sable would be dead – in that same house, in a bathtub filled with his blood.
Can Tyler Carroll, a well-known podcast reporter determined to pry his way into their closed-door world, sift through the secrets that connect the seven in a web? As Tyler attempts to find the truth behind the months leading up to Alex Sable’s dramatic death, he follows the bridal party, whose lives have spiraled in wildly different directions, bringing them to a fateful night.
The narration by Elizabeth Evans pushes the tangled tale forward as she gracefully performs multiple characters, creating a clear picture of chaos and emotion.
Told in dual time lines, the months leading up to the wedding and the investigation thereafter, I Eat Men Like Air is a riveting look at the unraveling of a friend group punctured by violence and a chilling depiction of the rage that festers when it’s kept secret.
This is an Audible Fall Editors’ choice and I completely understand why. This book takes you on a ride from hating everyone as they are introduced, to feeling sorry for certain characters, to loving the closeness of found family and cutting toxic people off. A haunting and moving story that showcases the ingenuity of women in the #MeToo era. I EAT MEN LIKE AIR will keep you turning pages until the very end in a clever Upper East Side mystery and character expose.
Following a few different story lines, I liked that Tyler was the piece that kept them all together. I was hoping this would be more like Sadie by Courtney Summers in which we would get more of the podcast portion, but I think it was a smart call to have flashbacks and have Tyler bring us back to the present with the investigation. I really liked how he became part of the group and that he really cared about the impact of the story, not just telling the best one.
As much as all the characters are easy to hate, we get so much depth to them while reading that it is hard not to see their value as well. I like how easily people brush off Lulu because she is Instagram famous but there is so much more to her than that. I liked that everyone got their own perspective and being so deep into the minds of all the characters. I felt like I was on the ground with them on the outside looking in. Berman does such a fantastic job of distinguishing each of the characters and their voices while keeping them all the same.
I will say this started off a little slow for me – I was hoping for a bit faster pace from the get go – but it did pick up almost immediately and I kept reading until I finished! It is as much a character expose and essay on the importance of power imbalances in today’s political climate as it is a murder mystery. Berman walks that line perfectly.
Definitely pick this one up and give it a listen. You won’t regret it.
Alice Berman is a New York City-based author, diving into audio with her first Audible Originals book, I Eat Men Like Air, a gripping mystery/thriller. She sold her novel Lost Boys and Technicolor Girls to ABC, where it is in development to become a series with Freeform. Hailing from a political family in Washington, DC, Berman attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania, winning the Gibson Peacock Award for creative nonfiction. Postgrad, Berman lived in London and Los Angeles, where she cofounded the Shopfeed app and served as creative director for Pop & Suki. Berman writes from her Tribeca loft. She is a founding board member of animal advocacy group Creatures Great and Small and serves on the Young Collectors Council Acquisitions Committee at the Guggenheim, the Friends of Blair House, and is a Young Lion Conservator at the New York Public Library. She can be found online at @alicecanaryplum and aliceberman.com