Having read Mendelson's other two novels, I bought this up on a whim for something to skim through quickly. It is certainly a fast read - the prose is simple and the plot trots along at a fair pace. But I can't say I found it a pleasant read. The story at the heart of the book vacillates between the trivial and the frankly distasteful. Without including spoilers, it should be said that if you're looking for a compelling romantic story - or even an appropriate and non-squick-worthy one - this is not the right book to pick up.
The protagonist is defined by a naļvité that is neither charming nor believable. Lacking any sense of ambition or the slightest self-consciousness, she merely - as Mendelson might put it - lollops along in life, stumbling from hideously clumsy and thoroughly uncharming faux pas to another. She lives off others unrepentantly, with no expectation of anything so realistic as a career - a feature of the novel that grates especially to today's reader. What twentysomething now could stand to read about a character so directionless and complacent, who daydreams about the interpersonal situations she encounters as if she were a young teenager? There is no existential insight, no moral complexity - merely vacuous tales of one's exasperating relatives, and a supposedly-scandalous denouement which descends into melodramatic tedium without ever quite getting to grips with any juicy details of betrayal.
In terms of its writing style, the novel begins well. There are some lovely bits of description in its early pages, but this is not sustained throughout. Instead, it becomes a sequence of scenes in which we are supposed to see the development of an obsession. It is all rather superficial, however, and peppered with scraps of unnecessarily graphic description of bodily business that add little to our understanding of the character, save a generalised feeling of distaste. A theme of self-harm suddenly emerges from nowhere, half-way through, then vanishes as quickly as it had arrived.
While the prose is often light and readable, it is also rapidly becoming rather dated, and ultimately one is left distinctly unsatisfied. If you want what Mendelson does to a T in her fiction - neurotic, ungainly, elliptically-Jewish characters with messy but oh-so-darling families, slow-burning love affairs and dramatic showdowns, pick up 'Daughters of Jerusalem' instead.