I’m not sure how I stumbled across We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. I hadn’t heard of Samantha Irby or her blog, “Bitches Gotta Eat”, before picking up the book, but the title and adorably annoyed kitten on the cover called to my inner crank. And in this particular case, the essays delivered on the cover’s promise.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life tackles a broad range of topics from love, sex, family, pets, pain, the Bachelorette, money, and Civil War reenactments with a sharp wit and healthy dose of pessimism. Despite her glass half (or three quarters) empty outlook, Irby’s stories are funny, relatable, heartbreaking, hopeful, and cranky in equal measure. Her stream of conscious style invites the reader to experience her unique view of the world. The effect is similar to many meandering conversations I have had with friends over wine – bouncing from topic to topic while never forgetting the point of the story.
The essay format made it an easy bedtime read, and I enjoyed the development that was created as the essays built off each other, especially how relationship disaster stories gave way to a deeper connection as she chronicled the romance with her now wife, referred to as Mavis. Irby’s refreshingly frank take on sexual orientation, poverty, race relations, health, and weight managed to find the humor in the heavy subject matter. Even though our backgrounds, attitude, and life experiences have few places of overlap, I couldn’t help but feel connected to her. I found myself nodding and chuckling on more than one occasion. Fans of Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess) will find much to like here, as Irby’s ridiculous approach to the ordinary echoes Lawson’s often surreal style.
Overall, I enjoyed my glimpse into a unique mind enough to explore what else Irby has to offer. She may not be my go-to for a laugh, but I wouldn’t be disappointed to find myself in Irby’s world once again.