Madeline's Reviews > No One Belongs Here More Than You

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
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's review
Jan 12, 2012

it was ok
Read in January, 2012

This is the first and last time I will ever write these words: Man, I really want to read a Nicholas Sparks novel right now.

It doesn't have to be one of his, specifically, but he is the go-to guy for cliched and typical romances between Normal Attractive White People. And that's what this book makes me want to read. Something where all the characters are well-adjusted adults without any weird fetishes or deep-seated psychological issues, and a nice couple gets together and, after some formulaic tension and strife, gets married and has normal happy sex, the end. In short, I need to read something that will convince me that not everyone is as fucked-up and depressing as the characters presented in Miranda July's short story collection, alternately titled, Worship Me, You Hipster Idiots, For I Am Your God.

I don't want to give the impression that the writing is bad. Most of it is actually very, very good. But I would caution people not to read this all in one go - the ideal way to read this book is to stretch it out over a few months, reading a couple of stories at a time while you spend the majority of your reading time on other books. Because if you read more than three stories in a row, you start to get this very odd sensation that you will be alone and unhappy for the rest of your life, and it is not pleasant. Almost every story centers on a woman, aged mid-twenties to mid-forties, with quirks that are less "manic pixie dream girl" and more "years of therapy strongly recommended." She usually has some weird sex story to tell us (one story, where a woman in her forties recounts her sexual fantasies about Prince William, haunts me still), and she is alone and unhappy, and is guaranteed to stay that way for the rest of her life. If that's not depressing enough, the sex scenes will probably make you want to shoot yourself, because what is the point of living if sex like this exists in the real world:

"That night he wanted to nurse, so I lifted up my nightgown. I don't have to do anything, my boob is just there, he sucks on it. This always makes me feel sad and thirsty. But they are reversed; the thirst has a depth and tone that sadness should have; thirst as an ache, a howl, a sob. And sadness is pathetically limited to the range of thirst, it is just a sip of emotion, tightly buckled to a frown, quenchable. These feelings probably resolve themselves logically when there is milk in the boob. I could feel Carl's erection against my knee, but I waited it out, and after a while, it went away. He detached himself from the nipple, and we lay there in the half-darkness I have come to think of as our own."

Yep, time to go watch The Notebook and pray that I don't die alone and miserable. Thanks, Ms. July, this has been really fun.

(I'm just kidding, I'm not going to watch The Notebook. Christ, have you met me? That movie sucks.)
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02/09 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny Have you seen Me and You and Everyone We Know? That is a great movie, and somewhat more uplifting than the stories you describe here.

But yes, she definitely has an unusual take on sex. I didn't find it unpleasant or gross, just unusual.

Sarah Someone else who felt the way I did about this book! I wanted to like it, but I couldn't. Every character was just so self-consciously quirky.

Madeline I watched the trailer for Me and You and Everyone We Know...I'm sure it's good, but it just looks so goddamn indie and alternative and all that. Honestly, my tolerance for those kind of movies is very low, and nine times out of ten I just want to watch a superhero movie and call it a night.

Clearly, I am not Ms. July's intended audience.

message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny Well, it's indie and quirky and low on car chases, but it's got some great ideas. In particular, one of the best Internet romantic relationship threads I can remember seeing. Does to You've Got Mail what Shrek does to Disney.

message 5: by Beth (new)

Beth I read this book about four or five years ago, when I was 12/13. Still trying to figure out what I thought I was doing. And, yes, Madeline, I agree with you 100%. The only two points I can remember about this is, yes, the writing is amazing at times but what mostly sticks with me is the depressing take on eeeeeverything. The feeling that you were going to die alone and, to be honest, that might just be better, because EVERYTHING IS SO EMPTY AND MEANINGLESS AND LOVELESS.

Also, sorry, Manny, but everything about the book (and, okay, July herself) just seems so...self-consciously precious. Like Madeline said, she's like the queen of the hipsters.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I read a couple of these stories when they appeared in the New Yorker and "self-consciously precious" is just how they struck me. Maybe whimsy is something you either do or don't have receptors for, like (what Wikipedia reminds me is called) Phenylthiocarbamide.

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