Cover Image: Little Weirds

Little Weirds

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Member Reviews

I felt like the little kid in the emperor's new clothes when I was reading this. People were saying it was so good and thought provoking, but I felt like I'm the only one who can see that it's prattle. Like I'm standing in the middle of a crowd screaming, "this isn't clever, it's just weird!" 
And I get it, for the record: she is playing with thought and language and breaking words down to the most simplistic meaning to highlight how ridiculous everything is and I guess I see the art in that, but it brings up a lot of questions, doesn't it? Like, I won't get too philosophical in this review, but it definitely causes me to rethink the rules I've created for determining whether something is "good." Is it enough that she plays with language? My gut reaction is no because it's almost like she's amused and pleased by her own cleverness. When really, I didn't think this was particularly fresh. I just thought: Is this the 1950's? Are the beats back? Or maybe even more of a flashback, like a hybrid flashback: it was like Jack Kerouac and Gertrude Stein had a love child and not necessarily in the best way because Gertrude Stein at least had themes and Kerouac at least had a narrative. This had neither. There was no cohesive thought, it was just like this rant of free verse thoughts about Jenny Slate's childhood or boob basket and it was next to impossible to pull meaning from.  I didn't like it at all.
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Going into this book thinking it would be a straightforward memoir was the wrong approach. Jenny Slate is a unique writer, and this book is more about getting a view of what is in her brain. She's a talented writer, and this book is an intimate reveal of her thoughts. I really enjoyed it, and I think any fan of hers will enjoy it as well.
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This is the worst thing I’ve ever read. This book is tone-deaf, insipid, overwritten, and overwrought. I’m embarrassed for Jenny Slate. If I saw a customer that wasn’t under the age of 22 buying this book, I would rip it out of their hands and forbid them from buying it. It makes Fifty Shades or whatever look well-written.
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"Little Weirds" is a charmingly intimate read that allows its readers to take Slate's open invitation to come deep, deep into the midst of her raw thoughts and feelings, all of which revel openly in their bizarreness, as they are freely offered up for display for all those willing to take a look.
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This book is a rollercoaster. If I called it a memoir, I'm afraid you would picture something entirely different. Yet, after having read it, you feel like you know Jenny Slate's life in as meaningful a way as if you'd read a straightforward autobiography instead of a pastiche of impressions and recollections arranged in a comical, poetical, yet also sorrowful manner. In 2019, as I write this, it seems a brave and generous thing to put something personal and artistic into the world. It inspired me to want to write a book of my own revisiting some things I might otherwise have left buried. 

So thank you to the author, the publishers, and NetGalley for the chance to review a digital ARC.
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I don’t like to say that a writer has a unique or singular voice, because all the best ones do. But  in this case, I honestly can’t think of another writer who embraces a similar level of sheer lunacy, and I mean that in the very best way. Miranda July certainly approaches it, but it’s July’s casual dismissal of norms and expectations that sets her apart. Slate’s childlike playfulness with language is more poetic. And funny. It’s not laugh out loud funny, more of a snort-giggle funny. (Except for the piece about the Code of Hammurabi- definite lols there.)

However, it’s not all jokes. There are poignant moments and desperately sad ones. She introduces the collection as a response to the current political climate and personal setbacks, but it careens all over the place, ranging from a pretty straightforward memoir of the power of women reveling in each other’s company to an onomatopoeic piece called “I Died: Bonked”.

But there are also tender moments of deep sadness, the tenderness that of a bruise and the kind of sadness you only experience alone with your own thoughts. Upon reflection, it seems like such introspection should feel like an intrusion, but Slate’s notions are at once specific and universal. It doesn’t seem like we’re glimpsing something private. Rather, she elucidates feelings that we might not otherwise have known how to articulate.

If you’re not afraid of a little silliness in the midst of earnest self-exploration (and I can tell you that I wouldn’t have described myself that way before reading this), then this little book might be just what you need. And have some tissues on hand.
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Jenny Slate’s intelligent and insightful humor stands out even more in writing than in her performances. Slate has a unique voice and a talent for finding humor and depth in places most of us had never bothered to consider. This book is impossible to compare to other works but it is fantastic.
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