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!