A Canadian writer tells the story of how she grew into a malcontented adult.
Korson grew up in 1970s suburban Montreal feeling inadequate. While her family was only middle-class, her next-door neighbors could afford a live-in maid and all the dolls their daughter could ever want. Korson’s perpetually crabby mother refused to buy her those dolls, and her makeup-wearing businessman father went to work sporting a look “somewhere between European porn director and Jewish buckaroo.” Korson started kindergarten at a French-speaking school where she struck up an alliance with an equally unhappy 6-year-old “dead ringer…for Walter Matthau.” Ever on the lookout for fellow misfits, she befriended a troublemaking girl at summer camp and nearly got kicked out for bad behavior. In high school, theater provided her a temporary respite from the “bullshit” of life. Korson spent the rest of the time mooning over an on-again, off-again relationship that allowed her to indulge in her penchant for “sadness and negativity.” After graduating from college, she found a job at a talent agency, where she was reminded of her “stupidity, incompetence and general dislikability.” The author also eventually met the “quasi-Deadhead sporto part-time vegetarian/alcoholic” who would become her husband after years of makeups and breakups. During the years she worried about making “crazy” babies and how she would die, she finally reached middle age. It was then that Korson learned she suffered from chronic low-level depression. Though only the “gluten intolerance of mental disorders,” her diagnosis helped her realize why she could never find joy in her life and why she was like a disease “to be managed” rather than a person in need of serious attitude adjustment. Though rich in descriptive detail, Korson's attempts at humor implode under the weight of her unrelenting negativity.
A whiny, snarky memoir of “the muddy field of unhappiness and constant discomfort.”