Hi, I’m badkittyuno, and I’ve totally failed my New Year’s resolution to remain current on my reviews by somehow falling 15 reviews behind. In my defense, my life has completely fallen apart since mid-March — but also I’m lazy and would much rather read than review. Caitlin_D suggested lumping reviews of similar books together in an effort to get myself back on track, and my baby sister is very wise, so…
Here we go! It’s Memoir Time.
Grace Notes: My Recollections by Katey 4 Stars
I love Katey Sagal. I was a little young for Married…With Children, but she’s been on three of my favorite shows: Futurama, Sons of Anarchy (which I actually started re-watching after reading this,) and 8 Simple Rules. I was expecting Grace Notes to give me some great behind the scenes information on my favorite shows, but she barely even touches on them. Instead, it’s a really beautiful memoir discussing mostly her love of music and singing (she sings a lot on the Sons soundtrack and she’s phenomenal), and her experiences as a wife and a mother. It’s a wonderfully written book, and I hope she turns out another one soon!
Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home by Amy Dickinson 2 stars
I barely remember reading this, but that’s not because I finished it 3 weeks ago. I barely remembered it as a I finished it. Amy Dickison writes an advice column apparently. This memoir discusses her crappy divorce, and the love she found later as an adult. I am currently going through a crappy divorce, and perhaps should have found inspiration in her tale, but she mostly made me yawn.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance 3 stars
Interesting but scattered. J.D. Vance grew up dirt poor, transferred between his grandparents in Kentucky (where he lived with no money but lots of love) and his awful mother and her various awful boyfriends/husbands in Ohio. His childhood sucked, basically, but was anchored firmly by his “hillbilly” family. I enjoyed the parts where he discussed his family and their history, but felt his attempts to connect that experience to an overall “culture in crisis” weren’t quite as interesting or successful.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling 5 stars
Despite the fact that I’ve literally only watched her on The Office, and those five minutes where she yells at Paul Rudd in The 40-Year Old Virgin, I love Mindy Kaling with all my great. She’s smart and funny and gorgeous and so freaking talented. Her memoirs crack me up, and listening to this one on audiobook made for several hours of good fun. Also, listening to her talk about B.J. Novak confuses the hell out of me but their soup snake relationship makes me very happy.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit 4 stars
A lot of y’all have reviewed this one. Rebecca Solnit famously had a man explain a book to her — a book that she wrote. She expounds on that in this collection of essays, but the chapters I really enjoyed/felt terrified by dealt with rape and violence against women. She does an amazing/horrifying job of breaking down statistics and explaining how women are treated in the United States as well as on a global scale. This book ought to be required reading.
Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up by Grace Helbig 2 stars
I need to stop trying to read stuff written by YouTube stars. With the exception of Hannah Hart’s raw and well-written memoir, Buffering, I’ve been pretty disappointed. Which makes sense — I know nothing about these people, and while sometimes a blog by a person I’ve never heard of still makes for fun reading, it doesn’t seem to be working for me lately. Anyway, Grace Helbig has a YouTube channel, and uses this book to teach you how to be a grown up. Some of it’s funny, but most of it is trying really hard, especially the weird photography.