A quirky list of accomplishments in memoir form.
“Being an immigrant is akin to surviving a near-death experience—minus the excitement,” writes debut author Shifrin. “You constantly feel like you were given a second shot at life, and you want that shot to amount to something spectacular.” Originally from Russia, the author was turning 30 when she set out to write this book. She explains how her life was full of excitement, especially her 20s, which she calls “sloppy, sexy, sometimes sweet.” In preparation for her birthday, Shifrin established a list of all the things she needed to do before she hit 30. The book gathers the items on the list, each one with an accompanying story. Among the goals she set: take a writing class, live in a different country, land a late-night comedy set, fall in love (for real), buy real furniture, have a dramatic airport reunion, learn how to dress my body, etc. “I am living proof,” she writes, “that you can blossom from an awkward caterpillar into an awkward butterfly—a sharply dressed awkward butterfly who commands attention because she is comfortable in her clothing and looks like a consummate, trendy professional.” Shifrin continually tries to grasp why any said item on the list is integral to her development. When she moved to Taiwan for a “shitty job,” she quickly realized that even though she managed to leave America and live abroad, the abuse she endured at her work was not worth the limited opportunities her job offered her. The author also shuffled through a series of uncommitted relationships before she found the man with everything she looked for in a partner. Throughout, Shifrin gives readers a taste of what successful self-deprecation looks like; she constantly pokes fun at herself, analyzing the situations she put herself in and figuring out how they affected her journey.
An entertaining bucket-list tale.