Saturday, May 15, 2021

Book Review: The Atmospherians, by Alex McElroy

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

My relationship history was littered with jelly-brained lunks: men who quoted Joe Rogan at dinner, who blew their savings on collectible knives, men who brewed IPAs in their best friends’ basements, who proposed marriage at basketball games and would fight anyone who didn’t think the first Lethal Weapon was a classic. I fucked them because I liked predictable men, the guarded and repressed. Sensitive men couldn’t be trusted; they assumed their sensitivity made them special, deserving of praise. Most sensitive men were, at their cores, narcissists who constructed elaborate expectations for how relationships were meant to evolve. When those expectations weren’t met, the facade of sensitivity deteriorated into a petulant rage.

This unique story of a disgraced social influencer and her childhood friend from New Jersey looked at what happiness and success may be, from different viewpoints.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Atmospherians, by Alex McElroy
Sasha Marcus was once the epitome of contemporary success: an internet sensation, social media darling, and a creator of a high profile wellness brand for women. But a confrontation with an abusive troll has taken a horrifying turn, and now she’s at rock bottom: canceled and doxxed online, fired from her waitress job and fortressed in her apartment while men’s rights protestors rage outside. All that once glittered now condemns.

Sasha confides in her oldest childhood friend, Dyson—a failed actor with a history of body issues—who hatches a plan for Sasha to restore her reputation by becoming the face of his new business venture, The Atmosphere: a rehabilitation community for men. Based in an abandoned summer camp and billed as a workshop for job training, it is actually a rigorous program designed to rid men of their toxic masculinity and heal them physically, emotionally, and socially. Sasha has little choice but to accept. But what horrors await her as the resident female leader of a crew of washed up, desperate men? And what exactly does Dyson want?


When Sasha has hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? She’s afraid even Dyson, the friend she’s known since childhood, doesn’t want to be associated with her anymore. When he shows up with a radical idea to create a cult and cure men of toxic masculinity, she may as well go along with it; she’s already lost her internet brand, and her waitressing job, and she’s being evicted from her apartment.

What could have been funnier came off as a bit too serious for this reader. Sasha definitely seemed pretty snarky and amusing in her own head, but the things she and Dyson did together and separately that were detrimental to those they claimed to be helping were somewhat depressing. Instead of having a little remorse for the unfortunate state of the world, and poorly functioning men in particular, they searched for some way to improve their own station, and then figured maybe it would help someone else.

Overall, I’d give this book 2 out of 5 stars. It may be better suited to someone with a darker sense of humor than I have these days. Its statement of the state of things was cynical, with a definite edge of commentary on social media, men’s issues, and self-acceptance.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a wife and mother. She enjoys chilling with the sun on her skin, the smell of flowers in the air, and a cold glass of bourbon in her hand. Find some of her adventures on Instagram where she posts as PoshBecki.

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