Tales of 30-something angst from comic monologist Auerbach.
Blue over her boyfriend’s failure to propose and fed up with her dead-end job at Fox News, the author delved into all manner of therapies, looking for advice and a pick-me-up from an acupuncturist, a craniosacral therapist and an astrologer. As her debut memoir opens, she’s making her virgin visit Iris, a tarot reader. The book is structured around that one, long session with Iris. Auerbach uses each card as the jumping-off point for a chapter of recollections: “The Fool” prompts her to remember a junior-high race for class vice president; “The Lovers” invites musings about her college boyfriend. By the fourth chapter, this obvious and annoying device has become gratingly predictable. The less-than-riveting narrative chronicles one bad romantic decision after another, liberally spiced with digressions about the author’s clueless father. Iris plays the part of the wise grandmother, offering nuggets that guide Auerbach’s own reflections. Unfortunately, nothing Iris says is especially sage. She suggests that justice involves letting go and that people can find meaning in their mistakes. She spouts platitudes like, “If we spend our whole lives holding on too tight, afraid of what we might lose, then we’ll miss out on so much beauty, so much life.” Her client’s effusions are no less embarrassing, in particular two juvenile passages about sex: a workaday description of Auerbach losing her virginity and a creepy account of contracting genital crabs. Relief from these pseudo-profound ramblings comes only after the author’s mother gets a divorce, loses weight and moves into Auerbach’s apartment building on the Upper West Side, ready for a newly single life. This sitcom setup is treated with surprising depth and humor; it’s too bad the mother-daughter moments are surrounded by banal, tarot-inspired whining.
Should have never left the author’s hard drive.