Damn, I had no idea Dan Savage was such a good writer. I'm a weekly listener to his Savage Love podcast and reader of his column, but this was the first time I've read/heard one of his personal essays, and they were very powerful. I sobbed my way through his essay about his mother's death, for example.
Other chapters, however, were rote and predictable to those familiar with his work. Some of the lines he uses I could recite word for word. You should roll your kinks out like they're a fun thing you get to do, not like they're *what*, kids? Let's say it all together now. Leukemia! His thoughts on cheating, open relationships, why women shouldn't be offended that he refers to pussy as "canned ham dropped from a great height" (still offensive no matter how much you like canned ham) are nothing new for regular readers or listeners.
Yet the new chapters were strong enough that I still think this book deserves four stars. In addition to the essay about his mom's death, the essay about going back to the Catholic church — at least physically — is poignant and insightful. The chapter about the It Gets Better project is interesting as well as brutally sad. I learned some new stuff in the health care chapter (for instance, I will never eat at Jimmy John's again). And last but certainly not least, Bigot Christmas is almost worth the price of the book alone.
I bought this book not knowing anything about it, but just having heard that it was good. At first it seemed really young to me — the narrator is 14 and very naive — but as it went on, I realized that some of the themes, such as sexual assault, were more mature than I'd expected. The author handled them well and handled the expression of teenage psyches well too.
I HATED the ending given what I know about how memory works — it rang really, really false to me. Criminally so. But I suppose the book is a product of its time ... and there's not a lot else I can say without spoilers, though I wish I could get into it here.
Overall, I thought this was a really good book, especially for a high school novel. I wish I'd found it when I was in high school.
I got really bored with the fact that most of this book took place in the same location. I couldn't quite picture the place and kept drifting off while I was trying to listen to the book, because the whole middle just seemed like the same thing over and over.
The ending was stronger than I expected.
Partly, this was my own mistake. I bought this book not noticing that it was categorized under "Religious & Inspirational," but when I figured it out I thought I'd give it a chance anyway. After all, the plot sounded interesting enough to make me buy it. I'm not Christian, but I'm not opposed to listening to a book with a Christian main character who finds solace in her faith.However, the moralistic judgments just kept coming, and all the non-Christian characters made me wonder if the author had ever actually met someone who wasn't Christian. They seemed like caricatures of themselves. They were all bad people with sad lives, and the Christian characters were so happy and full! Also, the constant mentions of Jesus got really old really fast. In the end, I was rolling my eyes every 30 seconds and getting really angry at the assumptions the author kept making, and had to abandon the book a few hours in.So as for who might like this book ... I guess the judgmental type of Christian, people who want their narrow worldview reaffirmed.
No. She was overly dramatic and overly emotional.
I've always found The Blogess's writing very funny, but a lot of that is because she says off-handed, unexpected things that I read as deadpan. Hearing her read it, however, Jenny Lawson is extremely self-aware of the "funny" moments, and says them in a tone like, "HEY GUYS, THIS PART IS FUNNY," which makes it totally unfunny and just ... irritating.
This is not a memoir so much as a collection of stories that the writer thinks are funny. In the end, I didn't feel like I learned anything, it just felt like a lot of cheap laughs sewn together. The only chapter I really liked was the one where she talked about her miscarriages because it was the only one that felt real and human, like there was a point behind the jokes and not just a bunch of funny or awkward moments. Also, she's a good writer, but the tangents drove the me crazy. Listening to this book was like listening to your most ADD friend try to tell stories, but by the middle of the story you've totally forgotten what you were talking about because you've landed somewhere else entirely. That style is funny at first, and it lends itself well to conversational-toned writing in general and blogging in particular, but when an entire book is like that, and especially when you're listening to it rather than reading it, it's extremely annoying.
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