Saturday, 14 October 2017

CBR: SO cranky


Alright.  The Cranky Book Reviewer has been quiet.  Too quiet.

Since we discovered* the Westminster Library our first weekend here, we've been great customers (helping to fund it with late fees, for example), and I've noticed that perhaps, in Canada, I was mostly exposed to North American literature, whereas here, there are so many authors/artists that I've never heard of, because they're (probably) British.

I've read several books each by Carys Bray (somewhat interesting, but not Marian-Keyes enough to hold my attention**), and Gyles Brandreth, who, for some effing ineffable reason decided to write Oscar Wilde/Arthur Conan Doyle fan fiction.***

So, yes, here I am, obnoxiously criticizing highly successful, intelligent, published authors, because they have achieved what I haven't (and not just because I'm afraid to start again) and therefore are cheating, somehow.  (Warning:  there is more of that below.)

I digress.  For now.

I have always been a sucker for female celebrity comedian non-fiction; the apex of the genre (it is so a genre) is Bossypants by Tina Fey, which I have read at least seven times.  (I firmly believe that by doing so on a regular basis, I will one day achieve my dream of being Tina Fey, or at the very least, having her read that book to me in person while I drink wine.  And also we're best friends.)  That is the kind of thing I want to write, something that inspires and makes you laugh and realize that you want to be friends with the author or just wear their skin as pyjamas.

The rest of them vary in their appeal.  I've read memoirs ("memoirs" is used loosely) by Andrea Martin, Jenny Lawson, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and in the last two weeks, those by Lena Dunham and Miranda Hart.

Let me start with Lena.  She published Not That Kind of Girl  when she was 28 (I think?) so has therefore lived a very long and interesting life as an entitled millenial and should totally be telling other young women how she got where she is.

kaff

Don't get me wrong - her work is excellent, she's brilliant, etc. but she is also the privileged child of rich artists, and has capitalized on their connections due to that.

And not that there's anything wrong with that, because I would do the same, and love to do the same, but, well, see cheating comment above.  I'm just not interested in learning from someone who decided to be obnoxiously "quirky", abused lots of drugs at a young age because she was bored, rolled her eyes as a sport and was given every privilege, every opportunity, all while living off her very rich parents.  It reads like a spoiled (white) rich girl, but sort of wistful and self-deprecating and yes, very smart and very funny.

So I'm torn.  I loved it despite not wanting to like it at all, probably because she is so successful and so young, and her struggles weren't really struggles.  But mostly because I blame my parents, who have failed me completely by not being extremely rich, connected and/or eccentric.****

Finally, Miranda Hart, who is currently tied with Tina Fey in my heart (and yes, I will find her, our dogs will be friends, and we'll hang out), wrote a lovely-ish memoir called Peggy and Me, in which the adoption of a puppy changed her life.  She got into shape, wrote books, went on a successful comedy tour, rocked live theatre, starred in her own television show, renewed her belief in God, and met wonderful people, all due to her beautifully scruffy little dog.

I'm not saying that she's lying, that Peggy didn't do all that, but I'm saying that Ziggy (despite several of his own a-poocalypses) (such fun!) has just not yet improved my life to the same degree, despite looking sort of like Peggy and also being a dog.  I mean sure, he's been getting me out and actively exploring my new city, and he offers unconditional love on the condition that I've got treats in my pocket, but he has so far not fixed my extreme fear/writer's block, kickstarted my motivation to write, nor has he helped me convince Tom Ellis to star opposite me as a love interest in my very own television series.

So, to sum up, Tina, call me.

And Miranda, maybe I could swap dogs with you for a week or two, and we could see how it goes?*****





* I don't mean "discovered" like "founded", but that we walked by it on the way to the park.  Besides, the people who have famously "discovered" places and cultures have also famously destroyed/exploited them, whereas as I mentioned, we are supporting it by paying numerous dues because my "system" to keep all library books in one area of the flat is flawed.  Let's see Columbus do that.

** Go ahead and judge.  I'll own it.

*** Although I did love his Word Play.

**** My mom and dad aren't rich enough to be "eccentric."  They're just weird.

***** I will settle for a tea date.  And Tom Ellis' phone number.

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