A picture of the cover art of this book doesn’t do justice to how gloriously yellow it is when sitting on a shelf. If I placed it next to The Yellow Room, I’m pretty sure I’d have a little sun in the corner of my bedroom, beaming out from the, uh, floor where I keep the stack of books I haven’t managed to find a space on my shelves for.
Thankfully, after reading this, I passed it on to my boyfriend, so I don’t have to worry about fluorescence beaming out of my bedroom.
New York Times bestselling author and stand-up comedian Jen Kirkman delivers a hilarious, candid memoir about marriage, divorce, sex, turning forty, and still not quite having life figured out.
Jen Kirkman wants to be the voice in your head that says, Hey, you’re okay. Even if you sometimes think you aren’t! And especially if other people try to tell you you’re not.
In I Know What I’m Doing—and Other Lies I Tell Myself, Jen offers up all the gory details of a life permanently in progress. She reassures you that it’s okay to not have life completely figured out, even when you reach middle age (and find your first gray pubic hair!). She talks about making unusual or unpopular life decisions (such as cultivating a “friend with benefits” or not going home for the holidays) because you don’t necessarily want for yourself what everyone else seems to think you should. It’s about renting when everyone says you should own, dating around when everyone thinks you should settle down, and traveling alone when everyone pities you for going to Paris without a man.
From marriage to divorce and sex to mental health, I Know What I’m Doing—and Other Lies I Tell Myself is about embracing the fact that life is a bit of a sh*t show and it’s definitely more than okay to stay true to yourself.
I didn’t really like this book. I’m not entirely sure why. I got it for a number of reasons – Jen Kirkman is my boyfriend’s second favourite comedian; I wanted to read a book by a comedian for the PopSugar reading challenge; I had loads of Amazon vouchers and no idea what to spend them on. So I got this right after it was published – I ordered it on my actual birthday, or very soon after, and it was published the day before my birthday.
In any case. I think this is the first book/memoir by a comedian that I’ve ever read, and it just didn’t tick any boxes for me. I read the whole thing relatively quickly, but I didn’t laugh, or even really crack a smile for the majority of it.
And I can’t even explain why. I like Jen Kirkman. I’ve seen her stand-up, and it’s very funny. I’ve listened to a few of her podcasts, and they’re good too (although I did accidentally listen to one on 1.5x speed and wonder why she was speaking so insanely fast). She’s a funny woman. Her stories are funny, her delivery is sharp and her observations are wryly entertaining. So I don’t know why I didn’t like this book. I think it’s the lowest star rating I’ve given to anything on GoodReads this year.
Having checked, yup. It’s tied for lowest so far this year.
I suspect my issue with the book was that my own mental delivery just isn’t a patch on Kirkman’s. My internal voice isn’t as funny as hers, and I don’t know her style well enough to mimic it in my head. So what I was hearing in my head was a little bit like when one of your friends goes to a standup show and retells one of the bits from it. They’re in kinks laughing, but the delivery and the atmosphere are lost in the re-telling, and you’re left bemused as they wipe their eyes and look at you as though you’re humour-deficient. Perhaps, internally, I am humour-deficient.
In any case, I didn’t enjoy this book very much at all. I could see where there might have been humour, and if I were to listen to the audiobook (which is narrated by Kirkman herself) I might like it a lot more, but the hardback was an experience I would not want to repeat.
A humour-deficient two stars