One day I will have a month full of light hearted, super engaging books for you… but that month is not this month. Instead, I’m still knee deep in literary memoir and am taking y’all along for the ride with me!
Not many people have had as much bad luck as I have, but not many people have had as much good luck, either. – Tig Notaro
I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro
Tig, a stand-up comic and comedy screenwriter, was supposed to be my happy, feel good celebrity memoir pick of the month. I’ve seen her work in the Amy Schumer Show, and heard parts of the now infamous standup routine where she goes on about having cancer and losing her mother tragically. I expected this book to be a funny, but honest view about grief and how traumatic events can shape a person – something right up my alley.
Nope. Guys, this was a huge fail in my eyes. Memoir can be this searing, overly honest genre where you get to the core of people… but Tig just scratched the surface. She covered all the traumatic events that her standup routine talked about, but not with any great depth or insight. And honestly, for a comic she wasn’t that funny. I wanted to love this book, really I did… but couldn’t get there.
Nutshell version – If you like laughing about dark things, skip this. If you like Tig Notaro, go buy her audio of her comedy instead. If you like memoir, read something that’s done well by a memoirist. HARD PASS.
Here’s a secret: Everyone, if they live long enough, will lose their way at some point. You will lose your way; you will wake up one morning and find yourself lost. This is a hard, simple truth. – Nick Flynn
The Ticking is the Bomb by Nick Flynn
Nick Flynn is a poet turned memoirist and poet that teaches at the University of Houston here in Texas, and is a pretty big deal in creative nonfiction circles. The Ticking is the Bomb, his second memoir, is not an easy read but it’s a super compelling, interesting book. Perhaps because of his background in Poetry, Flynn uses a lot of white space surrounding short passages throughout this book. His pacing is stellar. I read this quickly (almost too quickly), but there’s a lot for your brain to ponder.
The story of his relationships and upcoming child are told in a non-linear fashion and are accompanied by grander themes of myth, war torture and how one’s parent’s might shape them as a person. What I love about this memoir is that Flynn does not present any answers. If you’re looking for a neat life lesson wrapped up in a bow, this is not the work for you. If you want to dive into a carefully planned out journey of introspection and pondering about the depth of life and relationships, you’ll be captivated by this novel.
Nutshell version – Wild and fascinating. This is the kind of book you can read for 10 minutes at a time, and take away something. You’ll finish with questions, but the good kind. Strongly suggest for the fan of literary memoir and/or creative nonfiction.
March wasn’t a huge reading month for me, but I’ve got a few books that are almost finished which are sure to be featured in April’s addition of Reading Roundup. Is this a segment folks are still enjoying? I’m learning that I’m not too much of a literary critic! Going to cross that off the future career list 😉