I shoulda done the audio on this one. I’m so used to hearing Hannah’s voice from her own mouth (long time My Drunk Kitchen watcher, since episode 5), I’m sure it would have smoothed over the issues I had with the style this one is written in. It felt simultaneously overwritten and underwritten at various points, like the voice wasn’t completely comfortable with itself.
But any issues with the writing aside, it’s hard not to get sucked in to Hannah’s story. She tells it in a straightforward, unflinching manner, and man, just from watching her videos, you have no idea how rough she had it growing up. Her mother is schizophrenic, her father an emotionally distant Jehovah’s Witness, and she grew up in conditions that left her and her older sister with PTSD. The openness she shows in letting us in to these parts of her life—her struggles to accept her sexuality, her mental health, learning to navigate her fame, among other things—shows a tremendous amount of bravery on her part. Or, if not bravery, then strength of will. Certainly it shows that she practices what she preaches. Hiding the bad stuff makes it worse. Bringing it out into the light brings relief.
One of my main complaints with a lot of celebrity memoirs is that there is often no reason the celebrity should actually be writing a memoir, other than to make money. I mean, power to them, I guess, but that’s not interesting to me. This isn’t one of those memoirs. Hannah has lived enough life for three people twice her age, and she has actual important things to say, even if the way she says them isn’t always the most polished or effective.
I would really recommend the audio, though. I checked out a sample of it on Audible, and it was immediately more engaging for me than the hard copy, not least because the hard copy is HEAVY. It was printed on that fancy, glossy paper they used for Amy Poehler’s book as well, and it looks high quality, but it is a bit cumbersome. (Not to mention a chunk of pages fell out on me, and it was a brand new book.)
[3.5 stars rounded up]