Chris (The Genre Fiend)'s Reviews > The Anti-Cool Girl

The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland
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it was amazing

A great man once said, 'Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.'

Rosie Waterland could probably vouch for the accuracy in that statement.

If there's one dominant thread consistently running through Rosie's first - and highly excellent - book, it's that pain, hardship and adversity create growth. The better life is not one filled with perfection, money and success, but one in which a hell of a lot of hard work, and the ability to survive a plethora of ridiculously adverse situations, ultimately leads to a more realistic person. Nothing worth having ever came through ease.

That's not to say all of Rosie's experiences are entirely hellish, or sound like they were extracted wholesale from an overly bleak Australian drama. There are golden points of happiness, rays of hope and moments of triumph, all equally interspersed with the darker days, the rock bottoms and the no-hope-in-sights. Hers is a story that shows the positive and the negative with equally unvarnished verve, utilising an engaging tone and dry, sardonic wit. It's a narrative that manages a subtle balancing act between the hilarious sarcasm that has become her hallmark in her recaps of The Bachelor, alongside the more subdued and blunt prose used in the lower points of her life (and even some of those points have a bleak humour all of their own).

That said, this book does go to some very troubled places. It resonated with me on a number of levels - the familial difficulty, the struggle for self-acceptance and, most pointedly, the difficulties with spiteful kids in school whose senseless bullying has repercussions later in life. As someone who shared similar experiences to Rosie's at those ages, I read those bits alongside memories of my own difficulties; I don't know if I've ever gotten so angry reading an autobiographical book as I did reading about Keith and Wayne and the snooty College kids. That one hit close to home.

On the flip-side, I laughed my head off in regards to the poo-towel (the first in what would be many fecal-related stories). I got teary about the yellow chair. I giggled uncontrollably, probably to the chagrin of my nearby co-workers, during the 'Tinder date/Penis jenga tower' chapter. I internally fist-pumped when Jacob, Rosie's aggressive gay best friend, told off the Eastern European pornstached doctor when he tried to dismiss her from getting mental help. (My favourite quote from that last bit: 'When up against Australia’s shitty public mental-health system, never underestimate the power of having a very sassy gay man on your side.')

These and other stories in the book - the pre-birth drug dealer bikies, abusive parents, dismissive foster home and personal struggles with weight gain and being comfortable in her own skin - paint a portrait of a remarkable woman who has, in the words of the book's front matter, '[survived] the very worst life can throw at [her]'. She's come out the other side as someone who owns who they are, who has no aspirations about conforming to anyone else's idea of an adult or a woman, and who is entirely her own person. So much adversity has ultimately shaped Rosie's outlook on life, and it's one reliant on simplicity itself: Be yourself, do what you want to do, and accept who you are for yourself. 'It doesn't mean life will always be perfect,' Rosie writes, 'but it does mean it will always be real.'

The Anti-Cool Girl is an excellent book in its own right, and a fantastic debut effort from Rosie Waterland. There is more to this tough-ass lady than just her spot-on Bachelor snark, and her story so far is one worth seeing through to the end.

Also, I did a little happy Bachelor dance every time I saw the word 'peen'. Go ahead, call me immature, or anti-cool. I'll own it.
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Reading Progress

August 24, 2015 – Started Reading
August 24, 2015 – Shelved
August 25, 2015 –
page 143
48.64%
August 25, 2015 –
page 143
48.64%
August 25, 2015 – Finished Reading

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