Amending My Essay on Attempting to Read Essays

I’m always happy to be proven wrong. Okay, well that’s a bit of a lie. Who likes to be proven wrong? No one, that’s who. But in any case, I was wrong, I am admitting it, and I’m now writing to amend my previous statement.

Last month, I wrote an essay on how I just haven’t been able to finish an essay book. That I had tried reading 3 different collections of biographical essays and did not finish one of them.

Yep, I admitted that I DNF 3 books.

I hate to DNF any book. But there are too many books out there that I haven’t read yet to waste my time forcing myself to read one I’m not enjoying. So I will mark it as DNF and post it on my paperbackswap.com* bookshelf in the hopes that someone else will give that book a good home and enjoy it more than I did.

Well, I’m happy to report that I found one that I enjoyed. One that I decided to try just because of the title and cover picture.

(Yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and I know I said I wouldn’t again read one just because of the witty title, but you’ll understand in a second.)

And then, right after I got it and the day before I started reading it, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, recommended it. And I love The Bloggess’s writings—her blog and her books are hysterical. She has a darkly fabulous sense of humor that I love. But what I love most about her writing is how open she is about her life, her struggles. So I figured if she loved this book, then that’s a good enough recommendation for me.

So the essay book that made me amend my previous statement against essay books is:

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby.

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Now I admit, I had not previously read Irby’s blog. And I hadn’t really even heard of her. But Irby, like Lawson, doesn’t mince words. She’s hysterically funny, she’s charmingly self-deprecating, and she’s honestly raw.

I quite frankly find this book to be a great example of a book of essays. It has what I felt the other essay books I read lacked—authenticity without being forced.  This book moved me exactly how the others did not. I related to her struggles. I empathized with her challenges. I laughed at our similarities. And I understood our differences.

But she’s not for everyone.

She also curses (a lot) and at times is a bit obscene in a perfectly open and honest way. She doesn’t apologize for who she is and she doesn’t try to sugar-coat it or force everything to be funny. She just is Samantha Irby. And it’s all part of what makes her her.

I finished her book in 2 days, I enjoyed it that much. And that’s why I’m amending my Essay On Attempting to Read Essays.

* As a member of paperbackswap.com (PBS), the link above will allow you to get a $3 discount off the PBS Standard Membership. And if you sign up, I’ll get 5 PBS Money for you enrolling in the PBS Standard Membership and I get a credit when you list 10 books. See my term of use for more info on affiliate links.

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