Review: Loud in the House of Myself by Stacey Pershall

*Also posted at my other blog– The Broke and the Bookish*

Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange GirlTitle/Author: Loud in the House of Myself by Stacey Pershall

Publisher/Year: W.W. Norton 2011

How I Got This Book: I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.

I used to read memoirs a lot–memoirs from famous people, memoirs from people who lead extraordinary lives, or memoirs from your average Joe. Anything. I just really enjoy getting another perspective on life no matter if it’s life shattering or just something to contemplate about my life. For whatever reason, I strayed from reading memoirs, so this is my first memoir in about a year and it reaffirms my love for meandering around someone else’s memories as they look at some critical juncture in their life and explore the things that shaped their life and discover pieces of who they are.

Anyways, I want to hug Stacy Pershall in this book. I want to be her friend because she goes through some pretty crazy things! She grew up as one of those genuinely precocious children who is just so misunderstood and was ostracized and thus begins her windy road through “Jesus freakdom,” bulimia, anorexia, manic episodes, messed up relationship and a suicide attempt that will just leave you speechless.

I know what I just described sounds like one crazy depressing memoir but, while it is completely heartwrenching at times, I assure you it’s not like that at all. Stacey is beyond hilarious and witty and I found myself laughing out loud. You know, a real hearty LOL. She writes in such a compelling way that I found myself sometimes shielded from the heaviness of the subject matter, yet at the same time, so incredibly shaken to the core. I felt as though I was on this crazy roller coaster with her and gained perspective into illnesses that I’ve never dealt with before. Another thing I really appreciated was the depth of her introspection. She wasn’t shallow or cliche or blaming circumstances or making excuses or even pretending like she is magically cured now. Instead she gives an honest portrayal of the things that shaped her and really created something quite raw and inspirational that really reflects all those things she’s gleaned from some really dark days in her life and how she’s moved forward.

I will mention that at some times, for someone who really isn’t too familiar with bipolar disorder and many of the other illnesses mentioned, it got a little bit too medical on me. I didn’t feel that it detracted from the memoir at all but sometimes it slowed up my reading even though I was genuinely interested in learning about these illnesses.

My Final Thought: If you enjoy incredibly quirky memoirs that will make you laugh while simultaneously forcing you to grapple with some incredible serious issues (eating disorders, depression, suicide), then this book is for you. I think if you enjoyed any of Marya Hornbacher’s books that you might be interested in picking this one up. I personally enjoyed this one more than any other memoirs dealing with these types of issues. Something about it felt so genuine and I have a feeling that it was very cathartic for Pershall to write. That story needed to come out and I feel as though I could feel the burden she bared become a little bit lesser for her.

What are some other memoirs you’ve enjoyed recently? Similar to this one or otherwise..I’d like to read more memoirs again.

three-half-stars

Everything Is Going To Be Great by Rachel Shukert

Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour Title/Author: Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour by Rachel Shukert
Publisher: Harper Perennial 2010
How I got this book:  Sent to me by the awesome people at Harper Perennial
Why I read this: I’m obsessed with travelogues and was so excited because it about a girl who was a recent college grad and I figured I’d be able to live vicariously through her as a recent college grad myself!
Rating: Between 2.5 stars and 3.

This book and I had a love/hate relationship. I started this book and found myself loving it and then I hit a chunk where I wanted to fling at the wall and abandon it and then I got to a place where I didn’t loathe it and then I found myself really enjoying it again.

I think that the subtitle is a little misleading. I had such high expectations for this being a travelogue lover. This was more a series of hilarious sexcapades in 2 countries rather than a “European Grand Tour.” I was so excited about this book because I felt like Rachel and I were kindred spirits and that I’d connect with her plight–being a college grad, not knowing what you want in life, wanting to see the world and just generally being broke and wanting to find yourself. She was all that but I just didn’t find myself connecting with her until maybe the end.

Let me tell you some GREAT things about this book: Rachel is hilarious and the girl can write! I was seriously laughing out loud and dying with some of her descriptions of people and things. I’m impressed by her ability to make something otherwise not that exciting or amusing become something that makes me snort iced tea out of my nose. I also appreciate how honest she is about herself. I connected with that. At first, I found myself rolling my eyes at her and not caring about her because I just thought she was selfish and never learning and growing, but I found myself gaining alot of respect for her and genuinely finding her to be likable. I also thought she was clever in adding all these hilarious “extras” like when you are reading a travel guide and it might have a little boxed off section for things like “how to order food or what to do at the airport.” Instead, her “extras” were things like “Assembling Your Rachel Shukert costume” (with a full on diagram about the “tuck method if you are a male” or “Are You About To Be Sex Trafficked?”. Really clever and hilarious sections.

Things I Didn’t Like/Feel The Need to Warn You About: If you are the least bit offended by explicit sexual details or lots of vulgar language, skip this one! I wouldn’t consider myself a prude but sometimes felt shocked or embarrassed by the details. This book can be raunchy, vulgar and she loves to describe and talk about male anatomy in great detail–chocolate ones, big ones, little ones, uncircumsized ones–penises all over the globe! Also, I didn’t find myself DYING to pick this up. I was trying to finish it during Readathon because I needed the motivation to do it. I got tired of her sexcapades after a while but I will say that in the end she does redeem herself a little bit.

The final thought: In the end I was pretty disappointed with this book as whole. I’d recommend going into it without the expectation that it will be the travelogue of a college grad. Read it if you wished David Sedaris and Chelsea Handler had smart assed, hilariously hip child. Don’t pick this book up if you will be offended by sex and foul language.

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