Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Review: Everything Is Going To Be Great

I have to start this review by letting you all know that I am a complete and total prude.  Luke likes to tell me that if I were a super hero, my name would be Super Prude.  I would have ice cold lazer beams of disapproval that I shoot from my eyes.  It's shocking but true, I am prim and proper.  I make responsible life decisions and like to plan in advance.

Given my complete and total prudery, you might not think I'd enjoy this book, which is all about the author's experience with alcohol, men, and lots and lots and lots of sex.  Sex with old men, young men, men with girlfriends, men who almost rape her...it goes on and on.  If this were a friend of mine, I'd be seriously concerned.  If it were Honey Bear, I would jerk a knot in her before some crazy pervert got her. 

I'm kind of ashamed to tell you that I thought the book was hilarious.  The author really reminds me of Laurie Notaro and Jen Lancaster.  Her sense of humor is completely off the wall and her writing had me rolling on the floor.  As I was reading it, I loved it.  But now that I've had a day or so to think about my review, I'm becoming more ambivalent.  The writing was hilarious - no ambivalency there. 

But I can't help thinking about how this stuff supposedly really happened.  If a friend of mine told me a "hilarious" story about being sexually assaulted by two men on a date, I would be horrified.  That's the kind of thing people go to therapy for.  I also wouldn't think it were funny for a friend to be in a long-term relationship with a man who has a live-in girlfriend.  Or for her to get so drunk she passed out and got hit by a car but couldn't remember any of it.  Or had sex in exchange for things like dental care. 

So on one hand, I feel like the book was so funny.  It had me laughing the entire time.  On the other hand, I feel completely guilty about enjoying and being entertained by these experiences in the life of a stranger.  Somehow she makes them seem so funny, but when you really think about it, there's not much humor in date rape, drunken blackouts, or potential sex trafficking.  The more I think about it, the more Super Prude starts to disapprove. 

Consensus: The book is really, really funny.  But Super Prude does not recommend this book and thinks it is exploitative of women.  Also, there is a lot of cursing and drug consumption. 

What do you guys think?  Can you get past a person's self-destructive behavior in a memoir?  Can you still get past it if the author makes light of serious and dangerous situations/issues?

10 comments:

  1. Maybe making light of serious issues is a coping mechanism. But I think it could be potentially offensive to others who have been in similar situations.

    Doesn't exactly sound like my cup of tea, no matter how funny the writing is. Thanks for the review!

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  2. I laughed about the "ice cold lazers of disapproval" shooting out of your eyes. :) I can just see you doing that :)

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  3. Oh yeah, and I totally would not be able to read that book. I have found that even though I enjoy many "wordly" things (especially TV shows like Desperate Housewives and things like that) they give me a bad heart attitude and I end up being mean to Ben and just acting stupid.
    Go Super Prude :)

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  4. I'll read it. 3 years ago, if I were to be a super hero, I'd be Super Whore. Sad but true. Of the 3 things you've mentioned about the author I've done 2. :(

    I think books like this are great because it lets people like you experience a world you'd never take part in. You get a glimpse of their life, even though it's different (a lot different) then yours. However, I don't like them because of I feel like it glamorizes being a drugged-up-constant-drunk-whore. It's not glamorous. I know that I've looked back and wondered how I didn't die.

    Hmm...anyhoodle. I now what to read this book. (hint, hint.)

    I do have to say, I love your reviews and look forward to them. It's really expanded by book shelf.

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  5. Thanks for the comments! I agree that it can be great to branch out and read about someone completely different. I don't want to live in a little prude bubble and pretend that everyone is just like me. What really got to me was when I started thinking of the author as a real person. I think some of it would have been better had it been written in a more serious tone. Something about the writing made the date rape (as an example) just seem so trivial and lalala, this happens to lots of people. And for people it's happened to it's not funny and light.

    Jody, it's funny that you mention DH because as I was writing this I was thinking of the Real Housewives (which I watch obsessively in all its various cities). And it's a literally guilty pleasure - I love it, but I feel guilty for being entertained and amused by someone else's life failures. When you think "wow this is a grown woman screaming profanity and throwing a table on a another grown woman" it's not quite as enjoyable.

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  6. I just read and reviewed this lately and found the same thing! She is undoubtedly hilarious but I felt the same way about her self-destructive habits. It was interesting for me because I guess I'm not really like that so it was interesting to live vicariously through someone who is a little promiscuous!

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  7. I read and reviewed this book, too, and I pretty much agree. Though parts of it were funny, the overall story of the book was a little alarming, and I felt like there was no development made by the end.


    http://thebluebookcase.blogspot.com/2010/09/everything-is-going-to-be-great-by.html

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  8. Great review! I think I'd have mixed feelings about the book, as you do. Because as hilarious as the book sounds, is it really acceptable to us? Don't we deserve more?

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  9. Hmm I'm not sure about this one now. It sounded hilarious but it's a fine line I think. Guess I'll have to read it to decide if she steps over it or not.

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  10. I don't think I would like a book like this. At first I was thinking it was fiction, but when I realized it was a memoir, I was horrified. I think it might have been a therapeutic way for the author to come to terms with what has happened in her life, but for a reader to laugh at it? Something doesn't seem right about that.

    Have you read Chelsea Handler's "My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands"? Hilarious! And no abuse that I recall.

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