Eliza's Reviews > It Chooses You

It Chooses You by Miranda July
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Jan 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from January 04 to 05, 2012

1/5/12: This is an extraordinary work. I'm not sure exactly what kind of work it is--non-fiction, reporting, photographs, musings--that's the closest I can come. But Miranda July writes (and speaks) in a way that makes me want to underline her sentences, read them aloud to whoever passes by, return to them again and again. She jumps off the page at you, moving from the juxtaposition of random objects and people to her own odd, hilarious, poignant thought processes. Raw, certainly, often naive, and sometimes baffling itself. But very compelling.

Maybe it would help to explain the book a bit. It opens with July finding herself unable to finish her screenplay, which is about a young couple trying to make connections. On an impulse, she starts calling people who have placed ads in the PennySaver. They are trying to sell things (very random things), and she asks to come see those things but also offers to pay them $50 to interview and photograph them. So the book is mostly chapters about the people she meets (9 or 10 of them?), including transcripts of their conversations and photographs of them and the things that are important to them and what she learns from them and from their lives. Thus she observes and chronicles life in L.A. from an incredibly odd but interesting perspective, searching for connection and empathy, sometimes finding it, sometimes baffled herself by the people she discovers.

July is an artist, so I suppose you could call this book a work of art more than a narrative. I'm not sure if that would change my approach to it or my opinion, but it certainly makes me want to understand more about her and her work. I know she makes movies (in fact, she describes the making of the movie of her screenplay--which she finishes--in this book) and does art installations. She has written one book of short stories…I just downloaded it, despite mixed reviews. Looking forward to it.
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