Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What If This Were Enough?

Looks beige, is in fact a bit sparkly
What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky

Heather Havrilesky writes this kind of oddball advice column, Ask Polly, for the Cut.  At least, I've never read any advice columnist like that before!  I like it a lot, so when she put out a book of essays recently, I picked it up.

I'm kind of mixed on the essays.  Several of them are critiques of pop-culture things -- TV shows and such -- that I have never seen, so it's kind of hard to care about them.  On the other hand, never having seen The Sopranos was not a big barrier to understanding the critique, which was excellent.  And she's usually drawing pointers about the larger American culture, which I do live in, so it's not like they're totally irrelevant...but still, I don't know anything about most current TV shows (by which I mean virtually any TV of the last 15+ years) and I don't feel like I need to.*

When Havrilesky is not writing about TV, which is over half the time, I'm pretty enchanted by her sharp insights and sincere pleas for more sanity in the world.  Her writing is fantastic, and kind of unusual; get used to her voice, and you can spot it anywhere. There's an incredible essay on Shirley Jackson called "Haunted," several on family themes, and just a bunch of neat stuff.

Worth a read, enjoyable, especially if you watch TV.

*I've been known to watch modern TV.  I finally got to Stranger Things and am now waiting for season 3 just like everybody else, even though I nearly quit seven minutes in to the first episode.  And we're currently watching the second season of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the books but is certainly interesting.  

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