trying to float review

Trying to Float is Nicolaia Rips’ memoir about her childhood in New York’s Chelsea Hotel. Published by Simon and Schuster, this is a quirky coming-of-age that defies expectations.

Nicolaia is no ordinary little girl. She spends her childhood in the Chelsea Hotel. Although no longer the home of Andy Warhol and Patti Smith, it still has many an interesting and artistic inhabitant. (As well as some who are not quite what they seem…)

The memories relayed in this memoir are simultaneously hilarious and tragic. Nicolaia is just that little bit different – her Halloween costume is Groucho Marx, she sees no reason to learn how to read, and her audition to LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts involves a 40 year-old-alcoholic and a pair of conjoined twins. Although different, loneliness is never really an issue, as this book celebrates the slightly odd inhabitants of this world.

I really read this as a final celebration of eccentricity – although the heyday of the New York bohemians has ended, in some cases, such an esoteric way of life can indeed survive. Despite iphones and high schools and helicopter parents, Nicolaia Rips shows the world that there are still little pockets of eccentricity to be found. Thank God.

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