Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Not That I'm Bitter

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World
by Gina Barreca

Yes it is. You're just trying to be amusingly sarcastic or to convince yourself otherwise. Stop. You aren't a cartoon character; you don't need a catch-phrase.

Meh. I don't feel strongly one way or another about this book. Maybe I can't connect to it because I'm a twenty-something and think worrying about a sagging elbow is beyond ridiculous. This book was slightly depressing in that sense. It's like, all I have to look forward to, as I age, is worrying about wrinkles and sagging and obsessing over all the wrinkles and sagging. That's exhausting! How do women manage to get anything done? I'm self conscious, sure. There are parts of my body I would like to change, and most women feel that way. But I can't spend my day obsessing over it. That would drive me crazy! And probably drive me to gin or Xanax, or both.

The chapter "Why Do They Call It a Glass Ceiling When It's Really just a Thick Layer of Men," about the GWDLTWW (Guys We Don't Like To Work With), I found hilarious, though she may be stating the obvious. Barreca points out the terrible qualities in those guys who talk louder and faster when they have no idea what they're talking about. We all know one of these people. But to see all their terrible qualities, put so concisely in print, is hugely funny.

I do very much like one of her idioms:
"Next point: 'Grow where you are planted.' This applies only to vegetable matter. What are you, an endive? Get out of your little patch of dirt and do something."
And I also agree with "Where's Carrie Fisher When You Need Her?" Princess Leia kicked ass. Padme is pathetic. We need to see more Princess Leia's in current movies.

About "Crazy Astronaut Lady": I may have had relationships that made me crazy, but I cannot relate Lisa Nowak. Although, maybe I just haven't had a relationship to drive me to that extreme, cockroach crazy. But, you know, I think I'd rather not experience that kind of crazy. Even if it would make me less snotty.

Barreca poses a lot of questions without offering a lot of answers. Which gets frustrating. How can I get much from that? Voicing the questions women constantly ask themselves isn't necessarily helpful.

The conversational nature of the book is nice, I will say. But there is a lack of flow and transitions. It feels very random, which, however, is the nature of conversation and thought. I just think I need a bit more of a road map through Barreca's mind.

There were some glaring grammar mistakes, which really bothered me:
"Why do holiday preparations remains[...]"
"This is not always happy thing."
Who edited this book? It's not as though it's thousands of pages long in Scottish dialect! 218 pages of conversational American English is too much for a thorough editing? Please.

There is no doubt that Gina Barreca is an intelligent woman. And I'm not saying this only because she mentions how she dresses like the stereotypical eccentric teacher everyone had at one time or another in school. Her writing is smart. And makes me feel...not smart. Her vocabulary is much more extensive than mine and makes me realize that if I hope to become anyone in the literary world, I need to bone up. She's a quick, strong minded woman, though, she does obsess about clothes and female stereotypes and sagging.

"It's Not That I'm Bitter" is catalogued in 155: philosophy, recommended by the Library of Congress. I guess that fits. I can't say I gained much from this "philosophy." It's mostly random opinions and observational humor. But, then, there is no dewy decimal for "opinion." However, there is one for "attitudes," which is pretty much the same thing. So much for a snippy ending to my post.

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