Among the recommendations that are often quoted to writers, one of the most well-known is to write what you know.
Philip Roth was raised in Newark, New Jersey and famously used his fiction to write about his experience growing up in the years during and after World War II.
In his 2008 novel, Indignation, Marcus Messner is a young man who has been raised by his second generation Jewish parents in Newark in the early 1950’s. After completing his first year of college at a local university, Marcus is ready to spread his proverbial wings. But his father, who owns his own butcher shop is increasingly becoming a helicopter parent. To get away from his father, Marcus enrolls in Winesburg College, a small university in Ohio. At school Marcus is slowly becoming a rebel. He is starts dating Olivia Hutton , a young woman who carries her own emotional baggage, in addition to not sharing Marcus’s religious faith.
Can Marcus find his own way in the world or will he follow the path that has been laid out before him?
This book is amazing. What makes it stand out for me is that his journey feels normal for a kid in their late teens or early 20’s. That period of life, as I remember it be, is a period of exploration and discovering your own identity as a human being.
I recommend it.