Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You

Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
By Todd Hasak-Lowy
Published 2015 by Simon Pulse

Darren's life is not going quite as expected. In fact, it's been a bit off the rails since his parents' divorce. But when his dad shows up with some unexpected news that changes everything, it begins to go even further off track. Can Darren figure out a way to deal with his crazy life or is his family's explosion inevitable?

This book caught my attention because of its unconventional narrative approach - it's told entirely in lists. I'm a big fan of novels in verse, so this struck me as similar, but unique. I figured I'd give it a shot.

Here's the thing: this book may grab some readers because of its unusual format, but I don't know if it will keep them. It's nearly 700 pages long and while it doesn't feel quite that long, it does sometimes feel unnecessarily long. I'm not sure the story is really interesting enough to support the unusual format. You see, there is nothing terribly unique about the story itself. Darren gets some unexpected news about his family (the exact details of which might be unique, but this serving as a catalyst to the rest of the novel's events is not), takes a hastily planned road trip, and sort of has his entire outlook altered because of the combination of these two things. But, the focus of the blurb is on the road trip - and it's over in the first section of the book (I'm not sure what it works out to page-wise, but there was A LOT of book left after the road trip was over). I mean, I'll fully admit that I'm terrible at writing blurbs, but it's not my job to do so, so I expect better ones from the people whose job it is.

Also, this book has a serious case of manicpixiedreamgirl. This is a phenomenon that I've heard discussed before and have probably even read some books that it could be said suffer from it, but I've never really noticed until this book. I mean, Darren's love for Zoey is based in absolutely nothing and actually just served to irritate me for the entire book as Darren made a series of pretty ridiculous decisions and treated people pretty poorly in the name of his so-called love for Zoey. I'm also not sure that any of the characters grew at all over the course of the story. Mostly, they seem the same, if not, in some cases, a bit worse, than when they started.

Additionally, some of the lists are entirely pointless. They are literally just a recounting of minutes passing or a sentence broken up to one word per line or something else pretty silly. Some of the lists actually drive the plot along and fill in backstory, but others just seemed like filler. The passage of time in the book is another thing that bothered me. Like, all of a sudden, multiple months had passed. It felt very jarring.

So, I was drawn by the interesting format of this one, but ultimately, it didn't succeed for me. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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