Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My Squirrel Days (Ellie Kemper)

*I was graciously given an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

This book will be released in stores on October 9th- keep an eye out for it at your favorite bookseller, or follow the link attached to the picture to order it through Amazon!

I was obsessed with The Office when it was on the air; my husband and I, little known fact, worked
My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
together before dating and then even after. We were, basically, the Jim and Pam of our office. We were darlings, everyone loved us, and even though I no longer worked at the company, the owner threw our wedding shower for us.
When the show started shaking up the paradigm, and no longer had Pam as the receptionist, I was hesitant about how to feel about this Erin character. But after a little while, the writers found her groove and she became fun and enjoyable.
When The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was released on Netflix, I was excited to see Ellie Kemper exploring a complex but still funny role (and fucking love the supporting cast, to be honest.)
And then I saw on NetGalley that she was releasing an essay book, so of course I had to at least try to get a copy. I was shocked when I did! How exciting! This was a book by a CELEBRITY, not just some author. (Authors, I'm joking. I really hope you know you are my people.)
It was quite fun to read! I was actually laughing out loud while reading it, which my husband apparently finds creepy, but I cannot help that Ellie Kemper is basically my inner narrator. There was only one essay that I didn't find particularly entertaining, but you know what's great about essay books? If you don't finish one essay it isn't the end of the world. I skipped it, figuring if she referenced it later I'd just suck it up and go back.
Her writing reads exactly like she sounds. Her voice was in my head the whole time I was reading it, which was confusing, because sometimes it felt like I was reading something I would have written about myself and how the hell did Ellie Kemper get inside my fucking head?
I know this isn't the kind of thing I usually review on here, but this is definitely one I recommend. I especially find essay collections like this to be great palate cleansers between other reads. (I always have a Carrie Fisher on hand to read a few sections of in between fantastical worlds.)
So think of Ellie Kemper as a sorbet course between your next few reads. I feel confident there are smiles and giggles in there for everyone.

The final score:

The Book
Just so fun! Great stories told in an honest voice.

The Writing
Kemper has a tone that stays true to her persona, without crossing the line into "am I reading stories from Ellie Kemper or Kimmy Schmidt" territory.

Took me about a day - it was so quick and easy to keep going!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

My Best Friend's Exorcism

You know that feeling when  you finally finish reading a really great horror book - or watching a horror movie - and you get to the end: the Final Girl wading her way out of the bayou; or the teenage couple starting to walk back through the woods towards civilization; what about the Last Man Standing as the killer's body hits the floor and the red and blues light up the room from outside?

I can't help feeling like that's when the good part really begins.

Because, when seven people go into the woods, and only one comes out, and that one says there was actually an eighth to go in but don't worry, they're dead too. (wait what do you mean there was no body??) I feel like most law enforcement officials are gonna have a hard time accepting that at face value.

Sure, the haunting or the possession or the stalking are all horror stories. But so is being the only one left at the end and having to make people believe that there was really a guy with a machete wearing a hockey mask running around killing everyone one by one, and did I mention it's actually the kid who you thought drowned years ago and he's come back to take revenge because it's YOUR FAULT HE DIED. Can you imagine being the cop taking that statement? That is the real shit show, my friends.

And that is the beauty of My Best Friend's Exorcism- not only do we get to watch as Gretchen succumbs to what is either a very intense demonic possession or a pretty average teenage female going through puberty; we also get to watch as best friend Abby fights to get someone, ANYONE, to believe her that Gretchen is not just "going through a hard time"; we see Gretchen actually trying to fuck up her friend's lives, in some cases trying to kill them! The best part, however, is that we also get to see the absolute cluster fuck that is the girls' lives after everything is said and done. We get to see what the cops say once the Big Bad has been defeated, and the repurcussions of everything that happened during the story arch.

I love seeing characters being held accountable for their actions, even if those actions were well intentioned, or necessary because of the craziness that I as the reader know actually happened, there's still something really satisfying (and maybe it even adds to the creep factor a little more?) to see the real world reaction to the situation. 

I had never read anything by Grady Hendrix, though I had only heard great things about him, I ended up really loving his style, it was easy to accidentally read for three hours straight without realizing you've done it.

The final breakdown:

The Book
A fun read, but definitely a niche piece. (Let's be clear, I fucking live in that 80's nostalgia, dry humor, and obviously lots of horror.) Not one I'd recommend to absolutely anyone, but definitely if people are already into this style it is a must read.

The Writing
So funny and engaged! Will definitely be scooping up all of his books on release days!

A perfect balance of humor and horror, heavy theological questions and classic 80's fun!!