Former teen TV star attempts self-deprecating humor to tell PG-rated tales in this occasionally chuckle-worthy debut memoir.
Best known for playing everyone’s favorite girl-next-door crush, Topanga Lawrence, in the 1990s sitcom Boy Meets World, Fishel writes that she was “born with a serious case of the klutzes.” In chapters with titles like “The Poop Whisperer,” “Walk Much?” and “I Heart You With All My Fart,” the author regales readers with stories of embarrassing moments throughout her life, from falling off a Big Wheel bike as a child to tripping down a hill in front of Ben Affleck. Fishel loosely outlines her life with anecdotes about bad dates, catastrophic casting calls and cleaning up after her sick dog. The book is set equally in Fishel’s life as a teen star and her adult life, and devoted fans will be pleased to read about her personal life since Boy Meets World, which includes a marriage and a college degree. While there are a few tidbits from Fishel’s teenage years that die-hard ’90s TV fans might find juicy, most of the anecdotes are just familiar renditions of normal growing pains. The author writes with heavy-handed sarcasm that rarely inspires laughs and often addresses readers directly with hints of self-promotion—“Do you follow me on Twitter yet? Well, if you do, (1) bravo!” and (2) you may have figured out by now that I am obsessed with dogs.” Compared to other female celebrities who have successfully written comedic memoirs, Fishel has neither the skilled voice of Tina Fey nor the over-the-top adventures of Chelsea Handler. The best moments come when Fishel writes vulnerably but frankly about larger cultural topics such as body image or her teenage romance with Lance Bass, who later publicly came out as gay.
The moments of genuine humor are few and far between, and the book mostly falls flat as a dull recounting of a former teen celebrity’s unremarkable personal antics.