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It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  310 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Meet Ariel. Her glass is half empty . . . and leaking.

If someone tells her everything will be okay, she asks: How do you know? If there's a wrong thing to say, she'll say it. If there's a downside to see, she'll see it. She lives in permanent fear of what's to come. But at least she's prepared.

In these witty and entertaining tales from the front lines of woe, Ariel highlig
Paperback, 289 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Harper Perennial (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jennifer Rayment
May 13, 2010 Jennifer Rayment rated it really liked it
Good Stuff

* Wickedly funny, must remember to not read this stuff while at the Reference desk, my snorting out loud continuously was upsetting the college students (Freaks them out that library staff have a sense of humor)
* After reading it I realized that things could be worse in my life and that I could be as neurotic and depressed as the author. Very life affirming I tell ya.
* Author says a lot of the things that we all think or feel but would never say out loud because other people would j
Jun 10, 2010 John rated it it was ok
Leve writes well, but the more I read, the more I grew to dislike her as a person. What's so "funny" about someone who's perpetually pessimistic? She came across as rather smug to me. Moreover, unless one is familiar with her "Cassandra" persona details before reading the book, there are gaps. She throws in names, such as "Liza" without any explanation of who the that might be? Took me a few entries to realize it was a friend and not a lover. Also, I would have liked more background on this ...more
May 23, 2013 Jim rated it did not like it
Shelves: started-stopped
What could be worse than being Ariel Leve? Reading her book. Wow, this is bad. Bad enough that I'm breaking my own rule against reviewing a book that I didn't finish. In most cases, it wouldn't seem fair - not giving the book a fair shake. But if I can protect just one person from It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me, breaking that rule is so, so worthwhile. I'll have done a good deed for humanity.

If you don't have enough negativity in your life, Ariel Leve can help . . . by b'ing and moaning, whi
Sep 28, 2010 Meredith rated it it was ok
This book got two stars from me only because it kept me reading until the end, although, if I'm being honest, that was only because of the way the chapters were broken up into short chunks. Overall, I found the author to be more whiny than Dorothy Parker-ish, substituting wit for a near-constant stream of negativity. I regret having this low opinion of the book as it would give the author just one more reason to be blue. The rating is more like one and a half stars.
Heather G Gentle
Aug 19, 2010 Heather G Gentle rated it really liked it
About 75% of the time I was thinking it sounded as if someone had taken out my brain and squeezed it onto paper. The hypochondriac part not so much. I loved the combined sarcasm and honesty. Will read anything this author comes out with.
Apr 03, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing

The instant I starting reading It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me, I thought I had found a kindred sista-friend [Feminista author Erica Kennedy gave me the secret password to use that term] but also that I’d have to challenge Ariel Leve. She’s published a book. That’s better than I’ve done in the fifteen years I’ve been writing. I’m jealous of this talented woman and made her follow me on Twitter. She must be thrilled by the content of my tweets. Leve is a major pessimist, sets low standards to
Patrick Neylan
Sep 18, 2011 Patrick Neylan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
Kill me now.

Maybe Ariel Leve should try stand-up comedy, because this is completely the wrong medium for her brand of humour. Face to face, she would probably be very funny and could possibly replace Jackie Mason as our favourite New York Jewish pessimist. But it just doesn't work in print.

What you get is a protracted, nihilistic whinge. Occasionally she tries to make it funny, but mostly she can't be bothered. That's not a problem in a newspaper column, where one reads one entry a day, or perh
Jul 29, 2012 Molly rated it it was ok
It was okay. It had some GREAT quotes, but other than that, it just seemed like a book full of complaints. I have to admit, it made me feel MUCH better about my life, but it also made me think about how you can't help those who can't help themselves. Leve is successful, has friends, etc., but she makes it seem like she has none of those things - which is kind of annoying. You would think from the way you talked she was dying of a terminal illness or something.
May 05, 2010 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Erin, Marie- some chapters are about things we've discussed
Well, here is another fine example of why I need to write a book. I know I say that a lot. This one was too bad, though- I think that she seems more like a wannabe stand-up comedian then the annoying, miserable, paranoid hypochondriac she makes herself out to be in this "humor/memoir." I didn't believe that she was that way for one page of it. I think she just tried to find a voice that would work, and didn't consider whether people would buy it or even finish her stories.
Jan 29, 2010 Jillian rated it did not like it
Perhaps her journalism is riveting, but this was extremely boring. I could certainly identify, but to me the minutiae of each self-conscious thought one has are not worth transcribing...
May 09, 2012 Denise rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, kindle, 2012
Ehhh, I thought a book about someone constantly complaining about everything and was more paranoid than my worse nightmare would make me laugh.... it didn't
Mar 23, 2016 V. rated it did not like it
Plain boring collection of worries. Relatable, but not told in a funny or witty or anything way.
Oct 15, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it
A joy to read in many ways. Very very funny and relatable as a New Yorker. That said, be forewarned: can be very depressing and ripe with plenty of dark humor. This is the second book I've read by Ariel Leve. Her memoir was amazing! I would absolutely read her work again.
Megan C
Aug 19, 2014 Megan C rated it did not like it
The front of this book boasts that it is "observant, irreverent, and funny as hell." Um. You will probably be disappointed.

Ariel Leve CAN be funny. There WERE moments where I laughed out loud while reading. But they were few and far between in comparison with the moments where I legitimately worried about this woman. She constantly reminds the reader that she barely has the will to live, and yet we're supposed to be laughing "with" her? She looks forward to nothing, her hair is falling out from
Jun 21, 2010 G rated it it was amazing
I adore Ariel Leve and fell in love with her new book, It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me. Sure, she’s a fabulous writer, but part of my girl crush has to do with the fact that I am just like her, in that neurotic-but-still-funny kind of way. Those of you who read my blog for my ranty health posts know what I mean. Ariel won my heart with her first sentence – “Sometimes after I wake up I will stand in my pyjamas in front of the mirror over the sink and watch myself getting older.” Yep, I’ve been ...more
Jun 14, 2010 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-review, chicklit
From the opening line, "People like to say it will all work out. But what if it doesn't?", you are instantly pulled into the self-deprecating world that Ariel lives in. She's constantly second guessing things and never moving on anything because it will definitely lead to some serious problem at some point in her life. And as sad as this sounds it's absolutely hilarious. It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me is a book of the things we sometimes think, but almost never say out loud. And it was ...more
Jan 01, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
It isn't often I pick up a book of essays to read, but occasionally I find they make good in between reading--even better than a short story collection in some ways. The essays are short and perfect for those moments when you don't have a lot of time to spare but must get in your reading. Although it took me a few months to make my way through Ariel Leve's collection of essays (I read it in between novels and short stories) , it was an enjoyable read, nonetheless. Leve's humor shines through in ...more
May 10, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
Quite fun, I've read a few of Ariel's columns before. The book is presented as groupings of column-length pieces by subject - Romance, Socializing, Friendship - all focusing on one of Ariel's concerns/worries/frettings. Read all together, the columns make her seem like she's an extreme version of a female Woody Allen - all neuroses and therapy sessions - but ultimately a good soul. We can all identify with aspects of Ariel's life - we all have that "loser friend", we can all sympathize with the ...more
Sep 01, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leve has a lifestyle many women would chew their left arm off for. Smart, witty, single, and gets to live in both London and New York. Not to mention writing for any number of prestigious publications.

Yet if you believe her alter ego in "The Cassandra Chronicles", Leve is a reclusive, depressive hypochondriac who annoys friends and boyfriends alike. It makes for amusing reading, especially for someone who also tends towards seclusion, depression, hypochondria, and irritating everyone around her.
Jun 16, 2010 Gmr rated it really liked it
Aa snarky look at everyday situations in life where the author questions.....what if? What if the worst happened that you imagined....what if it didn't all work out for the best.... Perhaps it would be better to expect it not to and then be happily surprised when it did...or not. Loads of fun stories that will have you chuckling, guffawing, or at the very least smirking through your day. Just try to get through one of these situations without reacting...betcha can't! Definitely a fun read....
Matt Beckwith
Aug 29, 2011 Matt Beckwith rated it really liked it
I was browsing the iBook store and found this one for 99¢. Based on the process alone, I bought it, with low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised though. It was actually a funny book. Given that she writes about her real life I doubt that she intended it to be all that funny. Nevertheless, it was very entertaining. Her lack and drive and real ambition, while being keenly aware of her own shortcomings, was, as the title itself might suggest, a refreshing change from the over-hyped, ...more
Aug 15, 2010 Eden rated it it was amazing
This book was really funny; I recommended it to a friend who said it was incredibly depressing, so I guess it depends on your perspective...I am vaguely Jewish (to about the same degree as Ariel), so I think I had the right mind-set going in. :) This book is the female counterpart to "Couplehood" by Paul Reiser - and that was one of my favorite books ever. It is written in short, snappy takes on many different topics that pertain to daily life, so you can rad it all at once, or just a few bits ...more
Feb 28, 2016 Rachael rated it did not like it
What a terrible book. I honestly have been attempting to read it for about 5 months now, but just can't no matter how hard I try finishing it I just can't. I find the author to be incredibly self absorbed, and petty. There is really no reason I need a 5 page dialogue as to why she wants to go out in the nice weather because she doesn't want to be criticized for not going out. Or better yet another 5 pages on why she is upset nobody will give her their kidney (even though she doesn't need one). ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Caroline rated it liked it
I liked this, but it was kind of like that relationship that doesn't always work because the two of you are too much alike. Ariel is a clever and interesting writer, dispensing her life and thoughts in short essays divided into vague categories like "Friendship", "Modern Manners", and "Sweating the Small Stuff". She is decidedly a downer (if a funny one), and I sometimes found myself getting slightly fatigued by her glass-half-empty outlook. This book was great for picking up and distracting ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Kara rated it it was ok
Really kind of obnoxious. I wanted to stop reading but had already invested so much time. Wow, someone else complaining about everyday annoyances. How original. Yes, we get you are negative, jaded, cynical, etc-can't possibly forget it since we are bashed over the head with it in every single sentence. Plus, why was there an Index? Was that supposed to be funny? Blech. Two stars for the two times I chuckled while reading.
Jan 18, 2014 Alicia rated it it was amazing
I have no idea how anyone could say anything aside from, "This is the best book ever." You know those miserable things that you think sometimes, like how much you just want to spend some time in a coma or how naps are great because it means there is less time that you have to be awake? No? Well some of us do and Ariel wrote a book about them. The problem is that now that I've finished reading this book, I have nothing to look forward to. Every other book will be a disppointment.
Aug 09, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok
At times, this was a fun read. I'm all for the Seinfeld-esque manner in which Leve cuts through some of the BS that occurs in life. But in the end, I really don't feel great about having stuck with a book whose author is clearly determined to find the worst aspect in everything and who, on multiple occasions, says that she really sees no purpose to life.
Melissa Lee-Tammeus
Sep 18, 2011 Melissa Lee-Tammeus rated it really liked it
Too funny. The most pessimistic book I've ever read, to the point where I was mesmerized and laughing out loud. A book full of essays of a neurotic author - the stuff we all think but don't say for fear of looking as if we live in a world where the glass is always half empty. Leve gives us permission to say, yep, it is a lot of the time.
Jan 19, 2016 Sophie rated it it was amazing
As someone who is a tad bit neurotic myself, I enjoyed nearly every page of this book. Leve's style makes you want to grit your teeth in frustration at points along the way; however, the composition of the book lends itself a few favours as it ensures you don't greedily guzzle down the whole novel in one sitting. I'm on my second read through now.
Apr 17, 2012 M rated it liked it
Had me LOL at her depressing view on life lol. Definitely a good read for a darker type of escape for those days when you just want to crawl in your bed and forget the world exists. The comparisons between NY and London were interesting... Won't even spoil the ending lol. I definitely thought of Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm while reading.
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“The only thing that's worse than people who say "I am what I am" is people who say "I yam what I yam" while doing a Popeye imitation.” 6 likes
“Complaining is a lot like talking, only more constructive.” 6 likes
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