Review: It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me by Ariel Leve

Title: It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me

Author:Ariel Leve

Genre/Pages: Memoir/304

Publication: Harper Perennial; April 13, 2010

Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Source: Review copy courtesy of publisher

Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis:Vignettes of spare prose told in a morose tone, Ariel Leve convinces readers that she’s virtually friendless, assuredly neurotic–a hypochondriac–and resigned to lifetime of small tragedies, general melancholy, and overwhelming defeat.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m pimping the memoir genre on this blog–perpetually reviewing memoirs, valiantly attempting to convert fiction readers to the darkside.  Maybe a better metaphor would be comparing myself to one of those door-to-door religion salespeople?  Whatever the case, know that I won’t rest until at least one or two of the avowed memoir-phobes out there dip their toes into the memoir pool!

Ariel Leve’s It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me is all those yummy buzz-words that reviews and critics like to bandy about–her writing is witty, caustic, cutting, dry.  As a storyteller, she’s concise and has an eye for seeing the absurd in everyday life.

She’s an established writer–a newspaper columnist and author of many, many magazine feature stories and articles–but I’d never heard of her until now. All I can tell you is that I’ve got my work cut out for me; I’m thankful she has an archive of articles on her website!

It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me is divided loosely by theme–Friendship, Personality Defects, Sweating the Small Stuff, Socializing, to name a few–and her observations are delightfully dry, some bordering on indifference, others on irreverence.

Leve on dealing with painful breakups: Another good time for a (medically induced) coma: just after getting dumped.  People say that time heals all wounds.  Well, time passes when you’re unconscious, so why not fast-forward to six months later, fully healed.

A snappy read injected with dry wit, It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me should be a staple in your beach or pool tote bag this summer.  This memoir might be the vehicle that converts you to the wonder that is nonfiction!

10 Comments

  • At 2010.05.25 10:11, Jane Steen said:

    I added that one to my list. I DO read memoirs. And biography. And nonfiction of all types, including history and theology. Seriously guys, if you only read novels you’re missing out.
    .-= Jane Steen´s last blog ..Time to Think =-.

    • At 2010.05.25 12:51, Kathleen said:

      This one sounds good. I like a funny, irreverent narrator in a memoir.

      • At 2010.05.25 14:20, dw said:

        Seems like I’ve been on a bit of a memoir rampage too. The title caught my eye, but after reading your review I’m definitely going to add it to my wishlist.
        .-= dw´s last blog ..Tooth and Mail (1) =-.

        • At 2010.05.25 14:24, Ti said:

          I’ve dabbled with memoirs. Some have been good. Other’s not so much. If somoene chooses to write a memoir, his story has to be unique, funny or just incredible in the telling and so few are.

          Based on your review of this one, I would give this a shot.
          .-= Ti´s last blog ..Review & Book Tour: Legend of a Suicide =-.

          • At 2010.05.25 15:24, Kari said:

            I haven’t read a memoir in a while, and when I saw this one was going to be featured at BEA, I decided I need to get my hands on it!
            .-= Kari´s last blog ..Reading Notes: When Everything Changed, Part 1 =-.

            • At 2010.05.25 19:46, Jenners said:

              I’m a sucker for memoirs … and this sounds like a good one. I love memoirs with attitude. This is going on the wish list!
              .-= Jenners´s last blog ..Question of the Week: Becoming a Character =-.

              • At 2010.05.27 18:40, bybee said:

                Oh so wishlist! Thanks for the review!
                .-= bybee´s last blog ..Library Lootenanny =-.

                • At 2010.06.03 16:40, Rambleicious said:

                  This one sounds good – I am going to look up a copy for myself. 😀

                  • At 2010.06.04 12:36, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

                    You don’t have to sell me on memoirs – I love ’em! This sounds like a great one too!

                    • At 2010.06.14 15:49, Jennifer said:

                      Although I do enjoy memoirs, I try to stay away from them most of the time. But lately, there have been so many fun memoirs coming out written by sassy, witty women who kind of make me want to be a better me. So I’ve bought in and tried a couple of them out and LIKED them. And this one definitely sounds like something I would like. Some of those adjectives that you used to describe the book could just as easily describe me. I think I’ll do just what you recommended: throw this in my beach tote for some laughs under the sun.

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