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What If This Were Enough? Essays

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Part was the beautiful artwork on the cover Unfortunately what was inside of it wasn t worth what it was printed on in my opinion Pass Last night after watching the first episode of Babylon Berlin I fell asleep to the police scannerA spurned ex also a sex offender had abducted and blown a bullet through the brain of a University of Utah student and dumped her body in a parking lotI work at the University of UtahMy brother goes to the University and texted me the alerts from New OrleansHeather Havrilesky nderstands this cultural moment the way that at its worst we can pipe in our worst nightmares directly to our frontal lobes The Riddle of the Yellow Canary until we collapse from exhaustion at a spiritual levelAs I finished this essay collection on the bus goingp Highland Drive then 1300 East a rainbow appeared out the window which is definitely not a sign from God that now we ll pass sensible gun control laws because this nation hates women than it loves guns to Inside the Asylum uote BoJack Horseman S4 but was lovely nonethelessAnd below it was a billboardFor Fat Boy ice cream sandwichesWith the hashtag YouDeserveIt You deserve it you worthless collection of sentient nuclei every moment of anxiety and self doubt and nagging sense if you log into Tinder that you could be bludgeoned in an alley and someone somewhere would wonder what you were wearingHooray cardboard like ice cream sandwichesI looked at the Smokes Vapors shop to my right the Nielsen s frozen custard shop to my left and suddenly everything seemed pointless andgly in a way I think Havrilesky would recognize as validThen I came to her final essay with its highlight of Angle of Repose as among the accomplishments that make life feel worth livingAnd it came together why she got itI knew from her Ask Polly column and How to Be a Person in the World that like Wallace Stegner like me she had lost a parent in her mid twentiesThat changes you I ve hit year six of the After and I see every day the subtle ways it shapes your consciousnessAt its best it can make you open hearted attuned to life s fragility and therefore its beautyAt its worst it can crush you in your loneliness in how lost you feel at 25 26 30 on a road where you feel largely aloneI realized my bus was on a road Stegner himself traveled often and yet again I felt so luckyI got off at my stop for my writing group took THE DRAW AS THEY CALL IT Draw as they call it 1300 East from Sugar House Park to the shopping center And this park Hidden Hollow which when I was a child was mostly known for drug paraphernalia felt storybook beautifulThe late afternoon sun broke through the golden leaves and kids were playing on the bridge and I thought prompted by the sum total of Heather s philosophyWhat if these are in fact the best conditions in which to write What if being a writer is what I was meant to be all alongAs if to hammer home the book s points a sign in the Hollow referenced Appreciating messiness and a ote by City Parks Idealist R E Sleater from 1922 laid out its vision fornatural rather than artificial beauty This didn t feel like empty Rousseauian nonsense to me at that moment It felt like women have been routinely silenced ignored even slaughtered and I was connected to a smart funny and weird one through something she invented in her mindStegner was from a poverty riddled background He spent time in an orphanage in Seattle He didn t seem destined for literary greatness He worked his way through the University of Utah in a tile storeHe thought he might just sell tile the
rest of his 
of his it was the belief of a handful of professors who believed in him that set him on his pathHe wasn t particularly religious but had an nwavering faith in himselfI emerged from the Hollow to my well trod corner of suburbia specifically Whole Foods which I freuent because it takes Apple Pay and I like it and it was on the wayMy notes For This Review Were Stained this review were stained pepperoni grease and I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor was piped inIt felt like second wave feminism was giving the finger to the forces trying to destroy women before death inevitably comes for Where Poppies Grow us allWe can t crumple we can t lay down and dieAnother dessert another hashtag makesmewholeI mean can an apple galette solve this Probs not but it did look tastyThe piano player s playing This Must Be the Place And it s a miracle to be aliveNo angel came and told Stegner. G wisdom an ability to inspire provoke and put a name to our most insidious cultural delusions What If This Were Enough is a mantra and a clarion call In its chapters many of them original to the book others expanded from their initial publication Havrilesky takes on those cultural forces that shapes From the enforced cheer of American life to the celebration of survivalism from the allure of materialism to our misunderstandings of romance and success Havrilesky deconstructs some of the most poisonous and misleading messages. ,

I really enjoy Havrilesky advice column and was surprised to find myself feeling lukewarm to most of the essays in this collection These range from memoirs to self help which made the collection feel a bit Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo unorganized at times While I really enjoyed Heather Havrilesky s last book of essays this one left me scratching my head as to what the point of these essays was supposed to be The book s jacket informss that many of the essays have been expanded so that might be the first major problem as many of these essays go on too long and often deviate from the main topic The title of this book led me to believe the essays would be focusing on being appreciative of THE THINGS WE HAVE YET MOST things we have yet most it is made The Shadow at the Bottom of the World up of stories meant to criticize and judge the world arounds without bringing Design for Six Sigma up anything new or enlightening towards each subject Disneyland is fake and commercialself help gurus are in it for the money and self promotion gee you don t say I didn t find any of the humor and sharp observations from her previous essays in fact this one makes the author come off asnrelatable and entitled I was planning on giving the book three stars but as I write this I find myself struggling to come Otis Oldfield up with anything to recommend about it 35 roundedpAn overall incredibly solid collection of essays focusing mainly on pop culture celebrity tv books and movies and the author s life mostly revolving around her familyThe pop culture essays remind me at times of the better essays in They Can t Kill Us Until They Kill Us Havrilesky covers topics as wide ranging as The Sopranos Elif Batuman s The Idiot Girls Entourage and Marie Kondo While the essays were a little overly didactic at times I found myself enjoying and getting something out of almost all of them and they were all thought provoking Recommended DNF after a few chapters I was willing to give this a chance after her weird library Twitter kerfuffle I do generally like Ask Polly but the first few essays were soo very remember what it was like before we all The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! used our PHONES so much that I felt free to just nope on out of this and return it to the library from whence it came the last essay I read before Iit was about how she Wciv, Volume 1 used to be very grumpy about the concept of Disneyland because it s so fake but then she took their kids there and had a good time but then she was grumpy again afterward because it was so fake okay Heather cool story I guess I ve been a fan of Heather Havrilesky since the prehistoric days of the internet when she was writing for Suckcom An ancient past when my pre work routine would consist of reading long form stories called blogs back when paragraphs weren t so intimidating Thankfully our modern era sensitive to our time constraints has since concentrated my mornings to scrolling memes instagram pics and 140 character tweets Heather is smart and acerbic and I love her voice she writes like I imagine I one day could wry observations heaped with the gloss of 10 dollar words Unfortunately I fear I ve started with the wrong book It s still her erudite and cutting wit applied to the mundanity of everyday life but it veers too close to earnest screed It s easy pickings decrying the capitalist fantasies of Fifty Shades or the insufferability of foodies Disneyland and Crossfitters To claim we need to get out and online less Butnfettered by the constraints of blogging and fleeting online attention free to truly flex in book form the chapters can tend to the baggy Things Even Monsters Need Haircuts used to have to be tighter or maybe my attention has just shrunk Maybe in this environment I need my reasonable edicts to be delivered as precise ranting screeds eviscerating polemics that point and laugh at the misguided other in 1000 words or less insert appropriate gif meme here 15 stars that I ll roundp because it takes A LOT for me to give a book one star Reading this I wondered if essay books aren t for me since this is the second one this year I ve immensely disliked but then I remembered how much I loved Not That Bad by Roxanne Gay and I realized that this book is just bad The author sounds entitled and elitist She was also really annoyingI read this book because it was my book club s November pick My library didn t have it so I paid 16 on This was my main motivating factor to not abandon it since I paid FULL PRICE The only positive. By the author of the New York Times Love and Relationships bestseller How to Be a Person in the World an impassioned and inspiring collection about the expectations of modern life and the sweet imperfections of the everydayHeather Havrilesky's writing has been called whip smart and profanely funny Entertainment Weekly and reuired reading for all humans Celeste Ng In her work for New York The Baffler The New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic as well as in her advice column for The Cut Ask Polly she dispenses a singular cuttin.
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