**spoiler alert** After reading Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline last year, I ended a long Twitter hiatus purely for the sake of following Ra**spoiler alert** After reading Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline last year, I ended a long Twitter hiatus purely for the sake of following Rainbow Rowell's feed / Benedict Cumberbatch gif museum. I'd read anything by her at this point, including her grocery list, so getting a copy of Attachments was a given. I read it in two long sittings and I was sorry when it was over. ...more
Ate this right up. Pain, Parties, Work is as much a biography of Manhattan in 50's as it is Sylvia Plath, and Elizabeth Winder's prose is the perfectAte this right up. Pain, Parties, Work is as much a biography of Manhattan in 50's as it is Sylvia Plath, and Elizabeth Winder's prose is the perfect match for its subject: poetic, feeling, feminine, and researched. Winder had me nodding my head enthusiastically by page two of her Introduction wherein she took aim: taking on "decades of reductionist writing about [Plath's] person and her writing." If that doesn't set your fist pumping, Winder's account of the real life people and events that inspired The Bell Jar offers a glimpse into the female experience at a very specific point in American history that is interesting in it's own right.
My first thought: I am interested in everything in the title. New York. The 1950's. Balancing career, social life and mental health. Sylvia, obviously. Sign me up.
My second: This cover is beautiful, but isn't it odd that Plath isn't pictured? This isn't something I wondered at a couple chapters in. Winder does an excellent job portraying Plath in real world context and we come to know her as a girl very much of her time. Fashion obsessed, social, academic, exhausted by the gender stereotypes she adhered to, dating constantly and constantly fearing pregnancy. The girl on the cover might have been any one of the smart, promising, pretty girls at the Barbizon that summer.
I'm so tired of the unimaginative and misleading portrait of Plath as goth chick; it does her work little justice, and it's just inaccurate to her persona. Does she write about a death a lot? Yeah. (side note: so does John Green, and teenage girls relate to him too. So why is one often a punch line and the other a profile in The New Yorker? (side note to side note: I love John Green. But even John Green knows John Green gets a lot more credit than ladies of equal talent and wit)). The Bell Jar is one of the single most relatable and wonderfully written books I've ever encountered, and Winder's normalization of Plath is, I think, a credit to that tale. Because Plath is more than her sad ending, she's someone of incredible passion, intelligence, and talent who struggled with depression, as so many of us do, and the clarity with which she wrote about that experience is a gift, not just in The Bell Jar, but in the journals she left behind -- which are often so poignant and beautifully written that, were I a writer, I think they'd make me want to pull my hair out in envy. Her private diary is better than most edited, published works. But now I'm just talking about Plath, and not Winder's work.
Point is: Plath is a subject worthy of this study, and I'm so glad it exists. Winder portrayed Plath as the multi-faceted person she was, as interested in her art as her next date or the latest trend in lip color, and reading, I felt the sweltering heat of that summer, the prestige and pressure of her internship, and that fearful excitement of Freshman year. I loved picturing her, Miss Prim, in her robe, and I ached a bit when she tossed her carefully chosen summer wardrobe of the roof of the Barbizon, bidding New York goodbye.
I'm so interested to see how Winder's text informs my next re-read of the Bell Jar, and I'm sure Pain, Parties, Work is a title I'll likewise return to....more
Hooo boy. Anything that could have gone wrong on the Heffley's family road trip certainly did. The amount of misery Mrs. Heffley put the family througHooo boy. Anything that could have gone wrong on the Heffley's family road trip certainly did. The amount of misery Mrs. Heffley put the family through in this Wimpy Kid installment was almost too much, truth be told. Not that it wasn't funny. Jeff Kinney is always funny. This one was just... really easy to commiserate with, maybe. I've never felt BAD for Greg until now. Moms though, ammiright?
I wouldn't have minded losing the pig and gaining a Rowley appearance, but the scene with the cheese curds and child leash made up for that. ...more
I listened to Amy Poehler's audio performance of Yes Please and the whole while I thought "what the hell must the physical pages of this book look likI listened to Amy Poehler's audio performance of Yes Please and the whole while I thought "what the hell must the physical pages of this book look like?!" The audio performance is totally entertaining, and at times even odd, with lines read by Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart, and Poehler's parents in equal and random turn. The producer of Parks & Rec adds commentary to one of Amy's chapters in a way that sounds totally impromtu and leaves me curious how the chapter reads in type. Seth Myers reads his own chapter with similarly impromtu introduction and banter with Amy, and the final chapter is read live to an audience so enthusiastic and prone to clapping you might suspect Tinkebell was dying at Poehler's tiny feet.
Listening to the audiobook, I have no doubt, is the best way to experience this book. The Boston accent Poehler hilariously slips in and out of is reason enough to download.
Yes Please is also a bit of an odd ball in content. It sort of defies genre and is instead a unique, feel-good ball of Amy aura. The chapters on her career, her love of improv, her children, and considerable name-dropping are the expected bio-fare (though she writes not so much historically about her family and friends as her heart just gushes gratitude and praise for them). There is humor, of course, but most of all there's a lot of heart, and advice on being a good person who makes healthy choices (or tries to), and Amy, as with her Smart Girls work and the character of Leslie Knope, is big-hearted, and just kinda wants everyone to feel awesome.
The introduction felt long-winded; talking about how hard a book was to write sounded less and less like a joke the more and more she talked about it, to the point where it seemed self-congratulatory to me. But that's the only complaint I can wage. Skip over it if it starts to grate your nerves a bit too. Some of the name dropping had a similar effect on me, but I can't say that Tina Fey and Kathleen Hannah don't deserve whatever kudos ya wanna throw their way, and Poehler seems nothing if not genuine is the good things she is so easy to say about other people.
Improv and the ~theatre~ are not subjects of interest for me, which is probably why I didn't jump on Yes Please earlier, but even those topics aren't her main focus. If anything, I think this book is a self-help book. It's a lesson in being a kind person, and when kindness fails, at least being an honest one. It's easy to listen to Poehler talk about nearly any topic, and if my review tells you anything about this book, it's probably this: it's really hard to not refer to her as merely "Amy", because she feels like your best pal.
I hope she'll write more, despite how hard it is, and how tired she is. DOESN'T ANYONE KNOW HOW TIRED SHE IS!?? ;)...more