this book made me love samantha irby as much as the rest of you already do.
‘cuz i admit—i was not crazy about We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. i went on and on about why in my review, but you’re already here, so to summarize: i’d never read her before and a few too many of the essays came across as self-conscious and overworked, like she was trying to shove humor/memoir pieces through a short story filter. it felt ‘off’ in shape and form; keeping the reader at arm’s length by using too many overlaying gimmicky style-flourishes, as clunky as that sentence i just wrote.
this new collection is fantastic. it’s much more confident and conversational and loose; it doesn’t feel like writing that’s been reworked too many times, its best parts buried under unnecessary zazz and flair. she’s funny enough to just…write, to lay it all out there without second-guessing any of it, powering through in an engaging tone as unfussy as the essays’ contents, many of which are about blood, poop, and tears—the verymany failings of the body and the mind and the spirit.
she and i seem to have many areas of same-shame/self-deprecatory overlap—i, too, am an “ill-prepared child-person” whose body “is a toilet,” always wondering (although in less-perfect words), “Am I ever going to stop writing the horror movie I have been starring in since the day I was born?”
it is heartening to know that i’m not the only one so unsuited for 92% of life; everything from ‘navigating social situations’ to ‘home ownership.’
i also appreciate her USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS FOR EMPHASIS, especially as someone who just had all their similarly deployed capital letters turned into wimpy italics by an otherwise delightful editor.
it’s kind of perfect that this book is pubbing mid-quarantine, because if there’s anyone absolutely suited for the Q-lifestyle, it’s samantha irby. her “five kübler-ross stages of impending-social-engagement dismay” is an all-too-familiar process—though i’m sure she receives far more invitations than i do. since ain’t none of us going out anytime soon, i’ll leave it here as a reminder of olden times before returning to my ‘rona-cave.
1. Denial: “Did I really tell homegirl I would meet her for dinner and drinks tonight, or is this a dream?”
2. Anger: “WHY THE FUCK DID I AGREE TO THIS I HATE GOING PLACES AND DOING THINGS WHY WOULD THEY EVEN INVITE ME?”
3. Bargaining: “If I go to this restaurant tonight, and I tell some jokes and act real sweet, I will keep this friendship intact, plus I won’t have to make up a transparent lie or sneak around trying not to like shit on Instagram, and also I don’t ever have to leave my crib ever again.”
4. Depression: “Is there anything worse in life than someone wanting to hang out with me? Especially in a fancy bar that serves ‘handcrafted’ cocktails? Maybe I can throw myself off the organic rooftop urban garden and end this miserable charade for good.”
5. Acceptance: “Fine then, I’ma just watch four episodes of SVU and eat saltines with my shoes on until it’s time to call a Lyft.”
back to blanket town!