Another pleaser by Augusten Burroughs, this book was a great addition to my collection of his books, and as funny as ever. This is a great read in the...moreAnother pleaser by Augusten Burroughs, this book was a great addition to my collection of his books, and as funny as ever. This is a great read in the holiday season, or a great book to read when you wish it was!(less)
Of course, Jen Lancaster is quite hysterical, and so if you like her other books you will like this one too. This...moreEven the Author's Note made me laugh.
Of course, Jen Lancaster is quite hysterical, and so if you like her other books you will like this one too. This was one of my favorites by her, and, as I already mentioned, I even laughed during the author's note; that takes skill.
Another win! Jen Lancaster his hilarious, as always, in another non-fiction installment about her life. I realized though, that as much as I love to r...moreAnother win! Jen Lancaster his hilarious, as always, in another non-fiction installment about her life. I realized though, that as much as I love to read about her through her stories, I'm not sure how I would fair with her in person.
First, I think this was a great story that needed to be told, but the way it was told made reading the book a frustrating experience rather than inspi...moreFirst, I think this was a great story that needed to be told, but the way it was told made reading the book a frustrating experience rather than inspiring. After about the first 350 pages, I began to enjoy the book more, but since the book is just under 500 pages, I spent the majority of the book just wanting to get to the end to get to the recovery. I'm glad I read it all the way through and it does seem like a book with overall good reviews (It is a New York Times Bestseller), but I did have several problems with it.
Things that went wrong that hurt the quality of the story:
1) The author glorified her experiences turning them into war stories rather than just explaining what happened. Reading about her constant pride and arrogance about her terrible decisions became extremely frustrating, and it seemed to become more of a "I bet this was more intense for me that it was for you" battle with other memoirs that are out there.
2) Because most of the book is about poor decisions the author made in bad situations rather than overcoming her obstacles (until the end), and since she glorified these decisions, I found myself angry and frustrated with the author most of the book until she began recovery. I found it excruciating that she kept referring to herself as mature for her age and that everyone else was ignorant (throughout the book, not in reference to how she is now) and I still haven't figured out if the author was trying to right from her perspective at each time of the chapter or at her current state. I read it as if the author was telling a story (since she did make present day references such as "Little did I know, the next few years...") and I think that made it more frustrating because I felt like the author learned nothing from her experiences. If you read it as if she is writing from the age of the moment, I don't think it would be as bad. Overall though, this provided as a distraction from her story more than anything.
3) The writing organization quality and writing quality in general was not very good. There were several times when the sentences made absolutely no sense or she would say something that caused an emotionally charged or dramatic situation, even though she referenced the exact same thing chapters before in a different context (it made me wonder if it was embellishment or just an error she didn't catch).
So do I recommend this book? Yes and no. I love memoirs, and so I may be a much pickier reader when it comes to them than the average person. There is definitely an art to telling a story about one's self, and I think that authors tend to either glorify their life or make it into a story that they are sharing. I tend to like the latter, but this was definitely more of a glorification. Brown's story is definitely inspiring in more ways then one and is worth knowing about, whether it is through her books, one of her presentations, or some alternative biography.
One last note: I do not recommend this book for teens (and possibly young adults) because of the amount of glorification. The people who become as successful as Brown did after all her traumatic experiences and poor life decisions are 1 in a million. Her story, however, may give people the impression that they can not get an education (she didn't put effort into schooling until her late 20s and did not complete her education prior to that), do drugs, drink, and not do an ounce of work until their mid twenties and become a successful lawyer and writer. I still can't wrap my head around her level of success and the amount of effort and positive decision making she put into her life, and I think that the rarity of this type of situation is often one that is missed, especially by young adults who are still in the mindset that the author was in for the majority of the book. I think the book also shows a very warped perception of control because the author had a lot of control in how she dealt with the situations she was handed and often made them much worse because of how she choose to handle them (which she never addresses in the book - the book focuses more on "this is what happened to me and the crappy life I was handed" rather than "these are how the decisions I made affected my already difficult life".(less)