Jackie's Reviews > My Misspent Youth: Essays

My Misspent Youth by Meghan Daum
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Nov 10, 2009

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bookshelves: memoir, shorts
Read in November, 2009

Whenever I read essay-style memoirs I get my hopes up that the writers will be immensely funny, brilliantly witty, mindbogglingly intelligent or at the very least my kindred spirits who have the same deep thoughts as me plus that ability to express them in writing. Most of the time I'm let down. Meghan Daum's essays, aptly enough, revolve around the theme of being let down. Or more specifically, being let down after developing a whole big fantasy about how some situation will play out.

I did enjoy several of the essays. Some are funny, some are intelligent, none are my soul mates. Not even close. Basically, while I appreciate her honesty, I think Megan Daum is a rich-kid snob.

Specifics:
Love the concept of baby dolls as meta (without using the word "meta", because the book came out in 2001 and back then "aesthetic" was the word of the day).

Did not understand the carpet essay. I get that she's accepting and celebrating her own brand of snobbishness. And I found that mildly entertaining. I'd probably do the same. But I don't understand the association of carpet with faux-class. In my neck of the woods, no one pretends carpet is a sign of wealth. You have to be wealthy to afford anything other than wall to wall carpet.

Essays on polyamory and flight attendants seemed out of place and boring. Rejected New Yorker articles that she worked too hard on to not publish somewhere, anywhere, how about in the book?

I think at some point, Daum considered herself to be the voice of her generation, or at least of her aesthetic. A short 8 years later and I find myself not in her aesthetic or her generation and marveling at how fast times change.


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