These Days Are Ours is a coming of age drama about Hailey, a recent graduate who is living at home with her parents (in their Fifth Avenue penthouse), trying to find a job and figure her life out. It is set in New York, six months after the 9/11 attacks . Of course her friends all seem to have their lives sorted out with Katie working at Morgan Stanley, Randy and Jess partying all night long – but Hailey is looking for more than that. She’s sure that Michael Brenner is the one for her but it doesn’t seem to be working out, so when Adrian, a recent Brown graduate, comes along, she begins to realise that there is a life outside of the privileged circle she has been sheltered in her entire life.
Although These Days Are Ours has a very fun and colourful cover, the story inside is anything but. I thought this would be a fun summer read, but in actual fact I don’t think I smiled at all whilst reading this story. It’s actually more about the disenchantment felt by privileged youngsters in New York, and the lack of motivation after a major terrorist attack. I suppose Haimoff succeeded in capturing those things because I felt ‘disenchanted’ pretty much the whole way through. There isn’t much of a story to this novel; it’s a snapshot of Hailey’s life as she tries to figure out who she really is without her parent’s names and what she wants in life. Whilst her opinions on life and the world develop for the better over the course of the novel, I wouldn’t say that there’s a whole lot more to this story.
I think this story tried to emulate that “Gossip Girl” and “Girls” vibe, but unfortunately fell short of it by quite a way. The protagonist is not the most likeable of characters, which makes the book very difficult to get into. She’s not exactly dislikable and I mostly agree with her outlook on things, she also wasn’t the most interesting of people. I’m unsure as to whether we were supposed to sympathise with Hailey but personally the story of a rich girl complaining about how she’s going to carve her own story if she carries Daddy’s surname, is not one that is going to get any from me. This, I think, is the biggest problem with the book. The way it talks about the elite is in a way that makes it seem completely inaccessible to your average reader. Of course, something like Gossip Girl is also about insanely rich youngsters in New York, but most people found their story incredibly interesting and started rooting for different characters. There’s none of that in These Days Are Ours.
What’s more, the synopsis indicated to me that there would be a fair amount of romance in this story, but if you think that’s what you’re going to get – you would be wrong. I got the impression that this book would be centered around Hailey and her choosing between two very different guys and learning a lot through these experiences but I found myself disappointed. Adrian and Hailey only really have any interesting conversations in the last fifty pages of the story.
I can’t help but feel that this story was a little out of place in being published in 2012. The events of 9/11 were long in the past by this stage and as someone who was quite young at the time of these events and not a New Yorker, it was a little hard to picture what it was like for these people. The sentiments of these individuals were not explained properly thus to an ‘outsider’ like me there was probably a lot of meaning lost. I think it would be very interesting to come back to These Days Are Ours after the Paris attacks in October 2015 as I think I would be able to relate to the story a lot more, however, as most people have never truly been involved in a terrorist attack, I think this story will alienate a lot of readers.
Whilst there are some interesting parts but this book isn’t anything spectacular. In this case, really don’t judge the book by this cover because this book is neither bright and happy, nor any good. The characters are dull, there’s not much of a plot and this book only makes you dislike the elite even more.