Friday, June 6, 2014

This book is much funnier than I am, so this post was always going to be a little bit of a let-down

I really like the title of this book, let's just get that out of the way up front.

more orange in real life
Him Her Him Again The End of Him was given to me by (of course) Alice (my go-to local book blogger). I see it was published in 2007, while I was still an undergrad; so it's an extremely recent book in other words. *cough*

On the back, Melissa Banks says it "may be the funniest book I've ever read. The funniest." Well, I dunno about that quite, but it is very funny. The story is narrated in the first person by a hapless young woman who meets a fatuous philosopher in grad school at Cambridge and deludes herself for years that he loves her and isn't just using her in increasingly transparent and egotistical ways. It's a funny set up done well, with the humor coming not only from the plot and the writing (wording? you know: quotable lines and suchlike), but also from the gap you can see forming between reality and the narrator's version of events. I was slightly disappointed that the plot and the settings (Cambridge, sketch comedy shows in New York) were a bit predictable/stereotypical, but the execution is so good it's nothing I couldn't get over.

Books about grad students who turn out to be totally clueless and fail to live up to expectations and end up exasperating their supportive parents might just be a little bit too close to home for me to really gin up a lot of enthusiasm, though. I think it's safe to say that everyone has fears about their life, about awful things that could happen or that things in general might not "turn out". Obviously it's not great any time you get reminded of those fears and anxieties, but somehow it's a little more sad when you find those feelings mixing in with your enjoyment of a book, especially one that is (I can't stress this enough) really funny.

Can you even believe how depressing I'm managing to make this post about a humorous book that I'm writing on a Friday? I swear I don't do these things on purpose.

There is really no reason for this to be a gif, internet, stop showing off
But then, I suppose one of the Purposes Of Literature is to make you think about things that might be scary and to work through some of that anxiety in a fictional context. And I have to admit that while I certainly wouldn't want to be the heroine of this book, since finishing it and thinking about it, I have felt slightly more secure about not being her. Although if I really don't want to be her I should be writing my introduction instead of this blog post (whoops).

Well, there you go. Good talk, guys.


  1. Books about grad students that anything make me feel a complicated mix of emotions about not going to grad school. However, you are making it sound really good so I AM TORN.

  2. That title is really quite terrific, and the cover helps too. My grad degree was in library science, so it was perceived as being more "practical" than the humanities grad degrees (most of us MLS students had studied humanities in our undergrad years). A PhD program is a whole different ballgame. I don't envy any of those grad students at all.

  3. LOL! You have an IT Crowd gif! :D