Mini Reviews: So Close to Being the Sh*t by Retta + Untamed by Glennon Doyle + How to Be a Person in the World by Heather Havrilesky

I love a good celebrity memoir. I don’t what it is about them, but I find them a lot of fun (especially on audio) and full of random (and not so random) wisdom. Since the pandemic and working from home full time, I’ve (mostly) listened to a lot more nonfiction. This mini review post will cover three nonfiction, two of them memoirs, that I’ve read recently.

Titles link to Goodreads.

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

I will admit that I only know/knew of Retta from Parks and Rec, which is a show that I absolutely love. Listening to her memoir gives so much insight into who she is and how she became to be where she’s at. Listening to her read her memoir in her own voice is amazing; you can really hear her comedic talent shine through. I prefer listening to them narrate their own stories too because it feels a lot more real and more personal. Retta didn’t grow up wealthy or even middle class most of the time; she learned that she had to work hard to get what she wanted, which at first was to become a neurosurgeon, and then finally to become a comedian. This memoir is filled with great stories about growing up the child of immigrant parents, of being African American, of reaching your goals, and then changing your dream halfway through. This is honestly one of the bests celebrity memoirs I’ve read in a while and I highly recommend!

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

I honestly had no idea who Glennon Doyle was when I borrowed the audiobook of Untamed. I just heard and read some great things about this book and figured I would give a shot. I’m definitely glad that I did; this was also a great listen – part memoir part essay collection. I also think it would be a great addition to any feminist collection. Doyle explores many of the facets of being in a women in today’s world, of having certain expectations of what it means to be a daughter, a sister, a wife, and friend placed on us. She explores leaving those expectations behind, listening to yourself, and truly living the life you want, no matter if it doesn’t look like what everyone else is expecting. It reminds us that it’s okay, and we should, be our true authentic selves and live the life we want. This is another one that I recommend!

How to Be a Person in the World: Ask Polly’s Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life by Heather Havrilesky

This nonfiction, however, I find myself in the middle about whether I liked it or not. I obviously enjoyed some part considering I read the whole book, however, I don’t remember anything really standing out. I think part of it is maybe it felt a little outdated? It was released back in 2016, which is just over four years ago, so initially that long ago, but I have no idea when these questions and answers were originally published. In any case, there were a couple pieces of advice that resonated with me, but some that didn’t. I have mixed feelings about Havrilesky’s voice – I thought she came off judgmental in a lot of pieces, maybe even exasperated that the person even bothered to submit a question and not already know what part of the answer will be. Sometimes, her voice worked – she also comes off quite blunt in her answers, which is sometimes exactly what is needed. Either way, I think this was just a meh read for me.

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