|MARVEL AT MY BOOK, FELLOW EL RIDERS|
I found out about it through a GoFundMe campaign for its author, Samantha Irby, who needed serious dental work like yesterday. Her blog, bitches gotta eat, led me to her book, which has chapter titles like 'I Want to Write Your Mom's Match.com Profile' and 'The Many Varieties of Hospital Broth' and 'I Should Have a Car With Power Windows By Now.' Also she lives in Chicago and we should do brunch I'm not kidding Samantha.
What surprised me the most about Meaty was not Irby's writing style, which you can easily pick up from her blog, but rather the ease with which she transitions from tragedy to comedy. That shit takes skills.
|Like this, but...with writing|
One of the first chapters, Awkward First Date, starts with:
Oh, hi. This restaurant you picked intimidates me. I am not wearing the right footwear for a place this goddamned fancy, and I am probably too poor to eat here in real life so I am really hoping that you are a gentleman and that this $15 pasta is on you.
The actual first chapter, At 30, lets you know her current state, which is single, poor, sick, and parentless. But it doesn't say it in an Oliver Twist, let-me-emotionally-manipulate-you way. It's basically "Yep, here's the situation." It made me realize how rarely I read people writing about being actually poor instead of "Ugh, I had to cancel my Netflix subscription and start using my brother's password."
|They usually use this gif too|
The chapter about her mom hits you hard.
She grew up with a mom with M.S. and an alcoholic dad who drifted in and out of the picture. When her mom's M.S. got bad, Irby was a teenager and had to take care of her while going to school:
There is no 'opt out' button on adolescence. I would divide myself into two people: the happy, smiling person who needed to make friends and appear to be having a well-adjusted childhood during the day, and my mother's mother and nursemaid and caretaker and friend at night.
I can't imagine dealing with what she's had to deal with. And then still being able to be damn funny. In the chapter The Terror of Love, she talks about some relationships or almost-relationships, and it's my favorite kind of writing:
A few years ago I was taking classes at community college because I hadn't quite yet given up all hope. There was a tall African dude with a deep, melodious voice in the class, and he was sexy. He carried a briefcase to community college, people: DUDE WAS OBVIOUSLY A WINNER. I spent the entire semester wondering when this asshole was going to ask me out on a goddamned date. Not kidding. Two and a half legit months making sure my hoodies were clean and my flip flops weren't covered in street puke because I just knew that this dude was head over heels in love with me and was going to whisk me off to mid-level management associate degreed paradise.
There are few autobiographical essay books (and I've read a ton at this point) that I keep around because I know I'll want to read them again. Hell, I'm giving Bossypants away. But Meaty is something I'm going to read at least a couple times. And I want her second book like now. You can get her first one here for the low low price of $9.95.