I have to give this book all five stars, because I'd have to give any
book that includes Allie Brosh's story "The God of Cake" five stars, and yes I do include Mein Kampf
in that calculation. (Sorry, Godwin.)
The reason I'm hedging at all -- you noticed, didn't you? -- is that I was thrilled to receive this book and loved every minute of reading it, and yet I couldn't help thinking of a critical comment I've seen applied to another great blogger-turned-bestselling-writer. When I read Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened,
I was almost completely unfamiliar with her blog. I've now read her book several times, and love it more each time I open it. Some reviewers have insisted that her writing works just fine on a blog but doesn't hold together for an autobiography/memoir. These reviewers are named Badness, Evil, and I Enjoy Being Wrong On A Daily Basis.
Lawson's book is amazing because it doesn't
read like someone glued disparate posts together. You can tell she actually went in there and did some work as a writer and an editor. With
an editor. It works. It coheres.
I love Allie Brosh so much I want to drive straight to Oregon and offer her comforting doses of chocolate. I'd even put up with her dogs, and I'm seriously not a dog person.
But I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed when I finished this book, because it made me want to know just who Brosh is. Who was she before she started the blog? How has someone so lovably (and, to me, familiarly) strange survived so long in this cruel world? Are you honestly telling me this walking basket of quirks actually held a job
at some point in her life? If not, what's she been doing instead?
I came away from Jenny Lawson's book feeling as if I knew her (and adored her, of course). I closed Brosh's book laughing, but worried. She's told me so much about herself -- much of it uproariously funny, some of it wrenching -- and yet I feel I know almost nothing about the writer.
Well, I know something. I know she's one of those people who can't help adoring dogs in spite of what total dorks most dogs are. She delights in their goofiness.
You know how there are certain books (or poems, or passages) you want to be able to legally require everyone in the world to read? That's how I feel about the "I am a dog, I must eat bees" section of the chapter titled "Dogs' Guide to Understanding Basic Concepts." For the love of your own sanity, go read that. Find it online if you have to, but read it.
And then read the whole chapter, as long as you're there, especially the quiz for dogs at the end. And then understand why this book is a bestseller. Which I hope means that Brosh will publish another book, and this time tell us a little more about herself.