In this debut memoir, a woman turns her quest for something new into a comedic adventure.
“My journey,” Jorgensen writes in her foreword, “follows a route of randomness (though, if asked, I’ll totally deny that and say I planned it all out—with bullet point lists and highlighter pens).” The half-Mexican, half-Danish author describes herself as “hot-tempered, loud, and direct,” and these attributes come across clearly as she relates her childhood, working life, and a divorce that set her on a path of rediscovery in her late 30s. She details the journey of her “Little Mother” from Mexico to Canada, and her own youth spent in small towns throughout Canada’s Comox Valley: “If it had the word ‘river’ in its name or running though it, there’s a good chance I was there,” she writes. As an adult “Realty Lady,” she found herself trapped by her false salesperson persona, 80-hour-plus work weeks, and her marriage to a good man who just wasn’t right for her. She escaped that life by taking an intensive writing course at TheFilmSchool in Seattle and then trying her hand at dating, which resulted in a “HBUAB” (“handsome but unworthy American Boyfriend”) and, later, a continuing series of romantic and professional misadventures throughout the Pacific Northwest. Jorgensen’s prose style has the casual, carefree energy of many contemporary tell-all bloggers, and she often interjects self-deprecating parentheticals, bullet lists, and satirical strike-throughs into her story. Like many comedians, she turns the most upsetting moments of her life—including deaths, divorce, infidelity, and sexual abuse—into dark jokes. She exhaustively offers her opinions on such topics as popular culture, toothpaste, self-perception, and, of course, relationships, with witty wordplay and outlandish observations. The memoir’s manic pace and playful grammatical structures don’t feel particularly innovative or original, however, and it’s easy to get lost in its dense tangents. The author also lacks the precision and structure of the dark-comedy masters, such as David Sedaris. However, she’s consistently bold, shocking, and hilarious. Readers looking for a laugh won’t be disappointed, and those tired of heavier, more traditional memoirs about modern women’s struggles will be pleasantly surprised.
A zany and refreshing, if slightly overwhelming, take on soul-searching, writing, and midlife crises.