Book Review - Trying To Float by Nicolaia Rips


Trying To Float* - Nicolaia Rips
"Allow us to introduce you to the Rips family: Michael, Sheila and daughter Nicolaia, the last denizens of New York's famous Chelsea Hotel. Better yet, allow Nicolaia to introduce them since it's her earnest, wry, occasionally wicked, but always affectionate observations that you'll find in her memoir, Trying to Float. Not only a coming-of-age story set in an enigmatic New York landmark, this is also the clever love story of a family, navigating the curiosities of their home."

The minute you open this book (or virtually flip the page of it in my case) you are given  access into a world that is exclusive to only a handful of people- The Chelsea Hotel in New York City.  This was the home to so many famous artists, writers, film stars and notorious icons.  It was the birthplace of so many of our favourite books, songs and goodness knows who or what else.  Its history and influence on pop culture is vast and it's always been somewhere that has intrigued me so much and over the years I have read so many different accounts of what the Chelsea was like in years gone by so I was so excited to finally read about what its like now from someone who calls it home.

Nicolaia Rips was 17 when she wrote this book (I'm guessing she is only maybe a year older now?) and it's about her life growing up in the aforementioned hotel with her eccentric parents and fellow residents.

The book is in essay form, each chapter a different story about Nicolaia and her world.  It takes you from the story of how she came into this world to present day.  Each chapter not too long and with a rhythmic flow that makes you just want to keep turning the page.  Nicolaia writes with such humour that it makes the book such a joy to experience, her words and stories will keep you laughing, smiling and nodding along to her familiar teenage awkward experiences.

I love memoirs, but up until a little while ago I had never read one from someone I didn't know and when I say 'know' I don't mean actually know, i mean recognise their face off of the TV or a magazine, so I went into this with trepidation but i can't stress how glad i am that i took a chance and gave it a read as i have loved every bit of it and I've actually bought a couple more memoirs of people unknown to me to read now as i was so enamoured by this one.

This is a really gentle paced, funny and interesting read.  It paints the hotel in a way that I've never read about it before, it makes it feel like a home filled with the most wondrously crazy family of misfits, legends and heroes.  Nicolaia makes you feel welcome in her world and your left at the end of the book with her on the brink of adulthood, and you get a sense that her life is going to have a lot more than one book in store for her and I can't wait to read the next one....

You can buy the book on Wordery and get free delivery too.