Rant Review From An Avid Broad City Viewer: I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson

I was over the moon excited when I found this was out in the world and also (low-key) mad that I wasn’t informed earlier of this release. Broad City was one of my highlights of September 2017, when I first discovered and watched the series with the release of season four, and featured my commentary and all the details on the show in my wrap up of the month. In hindsight, I guess some things are better left unread, like angry emails or rant-y reads.

Going into this having left two disappointing books prior, I was hoping for a pick-me-up in the form of Abbi Jacobson’s writing voice. I checked out the audiobook – read by the author – and it was a joy to discover her words read with such intending and meaning; Abbi Jacobson doesn’t just read her words, she lives through them.

While reading, I also realized that this was my first foray into the author’s solo work without Ilana being there to balance out her more every-day-awkwardness. It got me wondering which part of the Broad City duo I essentially enjoy more when they’re apart. After reading nearly three chapters, it dawned on me pretty quickly…

As much as I enjoy a good tangent, I’d like to, at some point in the storyline, reach the bigger picture, you know, the one mentioned in the title and then never elaborated on till the very rapid end… This is usually where Ilana comes in to balance out Abbi’s long-winded talks with humor to light up the scene, so I found that aspect to be repeatedly missing in the essays.

It’s just that I’d rather not be taken through pages of discussion on her junk mail disposing routine and what that fully entails with the many different categories they’re divided in. By the time she gets to the point, on finding a long-lost letter, I’ve already forgotten what the essay title was about. And this effect only snowballed the more she went on. It’s at this point that I was extremely thankful for the 2X speed on audio.

It got me wondering whether a certain word count was trying to be met?? Because Abbi Jacobson had so many worthy components to elaborate on (like discussing the actual seventy-year-old letter that reached her, her road trip which starts off the book but isn’t mentioned for at least three chapters, the actual relationship she first experienced) but she either skims over the highlights in a quick paragraph or wraps it up in a speedy end, opting to discuss detailed throwaway things . And it made me feel slowly more riled up the more I found random tangents thrown my way.

I’m perplexed as to why the audiobook is over six hours when that time could’ve been cut in half with all these rants on what-ifs and building up any possible scenario (that’ll never happen) before and after the event… but then the event itself is barely discussed in detail. Like the chase to hunt down the owners of the seventy-year-old letter, which she spent romanticizing in plenty of paragraphs wondering what if, when in reality it was wrapped up in one page.I Might Regret This- bookspoils

Nonfiction essays are supposed to be a fun, easy-breezy read for me, like I recently experienced while listening to Anne Bogel’s “I’d Rather Be Reading,” which cuts short at just over two hours. I wanted to be left wanting something more, which is what Broad City excels at with its 20-minute episodes. But this book just left me wanting something else. I jumped on any opportunity to be distracted in a google search by her mentions in the book, such as her friend’s chase after the rightful owner behind the developed film found in a blizzard.

I can appreciate a long tangent and vibe if it’s on a topic the writer personally cares about and I get to experience the excitement through her words, but Jacobson chose to elaborate on details that are usually cut in the second draft. There’s a lot of pages filled with dreaming and fantasizing, but little to no actual time spent on the action of the event. She even acknowledges the same:

“I’m going to go farther away from the B&B for a moment, because tangents are the most effective way I have to stall going to what I feel might be an extremely uncomfortable breakfast full of me halfheartedly making small talk over mediocre pastries. ”

She goes again into an ‘I wonder what will happen…’ spiral when staying for the first time at a B&B on her road trip, instead of just skipping straight ahead to what actually went down. This occurs way too many times in her writing to make the book enjoyable to read for me. The fact is that she build-up so many possibilities in her head of what might happen so that it creates this effect of disappointment when the real-life event finally comes around to being discussed and pales in comparison.

I mean, this is when you know the rants are bad: “While we’re here, I also want to touch on the whole saucer issue—” Plus: a whole chapter dedicated to all the items in her car for the 10-hour drive ahead.

This is also where the frustrations hits rock bottom because there are so many moments when it’s acceptable to go in depth with something juicy, like Kelly Rippa holding an article about that same long-lost letter Abbi found from seventy years ago in her mail, which happens way before Broad City, and way before Kelly Rippa even appeared on the show. Like, was that ever mentioned in real life? Did Kelly remember delivering the story? So many details worth to elaborate on but are barely mentioned again. Even something as trivial as her friend’s last name being Bieber.

Like, sure, go on a tangent about your junk mail and skip over this… Don’t mind me. There comes a point when you spend so much time wrapped up in fiction and fantasy that you tend to forget how simple and great real life can feel, how intimate and true. And I feel like this book lacked the intimate truths I was waiting to connect with, like those feelings evoked after watching a good episode of Broad City.

So it’s regrettable the good didn’t come to outshine the bad because when Abbi Jacobson focuses on the subject in front of her she shines so brightly in her humor. She nails down so many specifics that had me nodding along. Like her do’s and donts when it comes to her three-week road-trip. In the end, I just wish the author would’ve spent more time talking about herself, rather than wasting so many pages on unimportant details and scenarios that never came to happen.

“Do not listen to Sia’s “Breathe Me.” If you must, do not be driving, especially not in a beautiful landscape. If you are, and it plays, do not by any means put your window down and picture your car driving through the expansive terrain from an aerial drone shot.” 

Her insights are on-point: “SIDENOTE, “will-they-won’t-theys” are always will-theys, right?!”I Might Regret This bookspoils

If you enjoy long-winded, off-the-page, stream-of-consciousness writing then I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson might be your kind of book.

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Personality Tests & Modern Feminism in Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz

It’s known by now that I’m a fan of memoirs, given that I’m easily swept up in the juicy secrets of someone’s thoughts and secrets without having to reciprocate; it’s bliss for my nosy self.

With this new release part-memoir, part-VERY long personality test, Choose Your Own Disaster is a manifesto about the millennial experience and modern feminism and how the easy advice of “you can be anything you want!” is actually pretty fucking difficult when there are so many possible versions of yourself it seems like you could be. Dana has no idea who she is, but at least she knows she’s a Carrie, a Ravenclaw, a Raphael, a Belle, a former emo kid, a Twitter addict, and a millennial just trying her best.

This memoir-ish book was a) entertaining b) morally questionable and c) utterly vulnerable when covering such topics as:

  • eating disorders, bulimia, and binge-eating.
  • the creation of @GuyInYourMFA. And the story behind the profile picture:

You are definitely, and almost assuredly illegally, using his picture (you had done a Google image search for “guy in hat” and gone with the best candidate). You apologize, profusely, and that afternoon you bring a slouchy hat you own to meet your friend Simon in the library, the same library where you took your Introduction to Fiction class, and you ask him to stand there, against the shelves, and you take a hundred pictures of him with your cell phone and replace the picture of the stranger by that afternoon.

  • tinder dating while on her Eurotrip and meeting a genuinely nice guy.

You and Rory will stay in touch, and you’ll flirt and text and email your writing back and forth for months, a year, after you meet. Once, you will sing and play the guitar over Skype while he accompanies you on glockenspiel and secretly you’ll imagine a version of your story in which you and Rory end up together. You’ll imagine loving him, and you like how it fits. But you only talk in words on a screen anymore, and then, one day, both of you will meet someone else and fall in love for real and will have to tell the other person, a stranger across the ocean who you were never actually dating, that you’re actually with someone else now. Whatever flame you two had, whatever nonrelationship, will be quietly folded and put away in the linen closet.

  • celebrity sightings and her internship at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
  • titles like, Are You an Introvert or Just a Lazy Asshole?”.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55But my reading experience encountered some minor hindrances when it came to the series of men in this book…

Firstly, I couldn’t help but hear the uncanny resemblance Dana Schwartz’s writing voice bore to Esther’s from the TV series Alone Together (probably because they’re both New York millennial Jewish girls). In particular, those moments when Dana’s hanging on to a guy who’s giving her the clear ‘He’s just not that into you’ signals (which she herself notes more than once).

I appreciated when Dana focused more on chronicling her personal life, instead of wasting time on the men in her life that ditched her or vice versa, like a broken record. (I have to admit, though, that I felt delicious victory at putting together the identity of a certain established writer she was keen on that ended up ghosting her…) It threw me off with the overtly sexual details that I truly don’t care enough to spend pages on pages. I mean, there’s this lawyer dude that I skipped reading (because he came off as the biggest creep), but he was still written about for over twenty pages…

If nothing else, the aforementioned made for a comical line in her acknowledgments:

To all of the men I’ve slept with, thank you for giving me what I needed in that moment, for making me feel special or wanted or loved. And if you hurt me, thank you for helping me to learn while I was young. Hope you bought this book full price just to see if I wrote about you.

Oh, what last lines…

On another note: I couldn’t shake off my annoyance when it came to the constant excuses for her bad calls by comparing herself to problematic fictional women. It just brings home the point that fiction shapes your viewpoint, in particular, when she tries to brush off flirting and sleeping with a married man by using these women from TV shows that cheated (Carrie Bradshaw, Rory Gilmore, Olivia Pope). Everything about this screams midlife-crisis-with-precocious-college-kid.

If I’d gotten a more individual take on Dana Schwartz as a person – not Dana Schwartz in a relationship – I would’ve grown to appreciate this memorable take on memoirs that more.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: June 19th, 2018

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Review: Flux by Orion Carloto

I discovered Orion Carloto’s writing this past summer in the Local Wolves magazine, which is just an all-around spectacular piece of work full of feminism and girl power. So when I later came upon the news online that Orion was releasing her debut poetry collection, it felt meant to be.

Orion-- bookspoils“Read every word, experience every moment, and take in all the sorrows and revival that girls just like you have gone through. You aren’t alone.”

(Above quote and illustration from issue 43.)

Pulling inspiration from her personal adventures growing up, being in love, battling mental health, and the brutal pain of losing it all, she dug deep in her own woes and allowed those sorrows to fuel her writing. With original illustrations by artist Katie Roberts, Orion Carloto creates a dream world for the brokenhearted and paints a whimsical picture around the themes of love, loss, solitude, depression, sex, nostalgia, and unrequited romance.

“I can’t wait till I see your face and my brain thinks I’m looking at a stranger.”

However, I was discouraged to find an abundance of generic pieces that read less and less like poetry, as the book went on, and more like ordinary sentences structured to appear as poems.  I was also a bit let down because I was expecting something along the lines of Rupi Kaur’s milk and honey, meaning the collection would discuss both romantic love and self-love. I think Flux is a more worthy follow-up to consider if you’re a fan of Lang Leav‘s work.

Finally, on a much brighter note, that’s not to say that there weren’t noteworthy moments in here. I’d like to share a few of those enticing pieces:

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And thanks to my recent walk down memory lane, I got to discover this old gem buried in my playlist, which turned out to be perfect song while reading Flux:

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: October 24th, 2017

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Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Flux, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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