A zany and refreshing, if slightly overwhelming, take on soul-searching, writing, and midlife crises.

Me: A Rewrite

FROM VANITY INSANITY TO SELF-ACCEPTANCE (SORT OF)

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.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

more