Rachel Carr's Reviews > Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour

Everything Is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert
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Nov 02, 10

it was amazing

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As we embark on this journey with Rachel Shukert we are immediately intertwined into her whirlwind adventures. In Everything Is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert we are thrust into a world of snide and sarcastic comments, and I love it! Rachel a recent NYU graduate with a wonderful and extremely useful degree in Acting. Jewish girls everywhere listen up! Remember those calls from your mother post-grad asking what you are going to do with the brand new degree she paid for? I do! Her mother is hilarity herself as she continuously berates and batters Rachel. “You were always boy-crazy. Even when you were a baby… you were the sluttiest toddler I ever saw.”

In attempts to avoid her mother and returning to Nebraska Rachel flees to Amsterdam- a city full of lust, drugs, and illicit affairs. Rachel has a fatal flaw; she is a little bit of an alcoholic. We follow her as she breaks her nose or wakes up in the bed of unknown man. Rachel continues to deteriorate bouncing from one relationship to another searching for herself. We watch her as she grows up and matures. Initially Rachel is an immature and conceded individual yet she quickly is confronted with conflict. Rachel falls in love with Peter, a sociopath, who already has a girlfriend and controls Rachel. As she makes her way through Amsterdam she is confronted with love, changing friendships, and an unknown future.

In an amazingly hilarious situation Rachel was eating bread when she lost her tooth. Yet, don’t worry she has met some creepy Italians, one who happens to be studying dentistry. She visits these crazy Italians- who are wearing Zebra thongs- and immediately she is thrust into an illicit situation. She immediately leaves regretting her choice –she went to them to avoid payment- and heads to a licensed dentist. The dentist regrets she will have to pay 82 Euros to fix her tooth.

Scattered throughout the novel Shukert includes a multitude of how to’s and travel advice to young travelers similar to herself. Some of these include: Foreskin FAQ’s, Snappy Comebacks to Loaded Questions, Excuse me please, How much?, When someone mistakes you for a prostitute, Are you about to sex trafficked? A checklist.
Shukert’s stories are reminiscent of my own when I traveled abroad, although not as much of a disaster. She is magnetically drawn to trouble which might cause others to abandon hope and run straight home to their mothers, ‘I told you so’ arms, yet she doesn’t at least not for awhile. Rachel’s mother confronts her about her life in an act to convert and bring her child home:

“I am on your side… you are the most important thing in the world to me. You always will be. I will always. Be. On your side… You are mine. Do you hear me? I love you and you are MINE.”
Yet Shukert persists and attempts to achieve all her goals before departing the wondrous life of American Ex-Pat. Rachel Shukert’s Everything Is Going to Be Great is reminiscent of every terrible travel abroad story combined. Her self- loathing is consistent with every Jewish child, including myself. Her language is infused with wit and character longing just as every other college graduate, yet instead of complaining about her misfortunes she makes light of them and searches for more. This twenty- something is Nebraska born, NYC reared, and Amsterdam destroyed. From one twenty- something Jewish girl to another, this book surely should not be missed. You don’t even need to be a disaffected twenty something Jewish girl anyone will find joy and hilarity in the wit and language that seeps out of Rachel Shukert’s monologues. “Like I’ve always said: Love is wondering, but bad sex is a story.”

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