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31 August 2008 @ 10:15 pm
Ryan Ross and I are now the same age. *chinhands*  
Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel

Never believe the quotes on the back of books, guys. This book is not 'compelling.' It is not 'funny,' 'bleakly' or otherwise. It is not 'smart' (she may be. The book ain't).

What can I say? It's badly written. Okay it's a memoir - and a memoir, moreover, of depression, written by someone in the throes of said depression. Basically? I really shouldn't have to take the author's state of mind into account. (Whether I should or not, I didn't.) It's MESSY. By the end I had the sense that I'd read the same book twelve times. Each chapter was the same as the last. The same things happened. She was depressed, it sucked, for some reason people didn't murder her in her sleep. And: repeat. There was no sense that either she or the reader achieved anything by getting through it. Maybe it's naive of me to expect a happy ending from depression, but a resolution would have been nice. Showing that she had a grasp on the concept of plot and pace - that would have been downright awesome.

And be warned, it's JUST about her depression. It skips from her childhood to Harvard without showing how she got there; it describes friends she ignored and misused without demonstrating how on earth she made them. What it needed most was heavy-duty editing. It just ... ANNOYED me, that's what.

She herself was obviously pretty intelligent, if her name-dropping was anything to go by. OH, THE NAME-DROPPING. Just in case you missed the part where she was a RLY SMRT tortured soul, she went out of her way - torturing innocent sentences in her path - to make sure we knew it. Not to mention that every movie she saw, she spoiled. The entire freaking book should come with a spoiler warning. I DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE END OKAY, SERIOUSLY. WTF, THAT IS NOT COOL.

(Her musical taste is kind of giggle-worthy, though. Some of those artists didn't age well. Bruce Springsteen? Conjures to me the image of gungho Stetsons and Levis. Regardless of what he's actually about. And I think more people have heard of Bob Dylan now than listen to him. I could be wrong. Even Nirvana are so totally passé at this stage. Suxxors.)

He says a bunch of reassuring things, explains over and over again how carefully he is monitoring me - all the while admitting that psychopharmacology is more art than science, that he and his colleagues are all basically shooting in the dark. And he acts as if a million doctors didn't say the same things to women about DES, about the IUD, about silicone breast implants, as if they didn't once claim that Valium was a non-addictive tranquilliser and that Halcion was a miracle sleeping pill.


... for the way I feel like one of those souvenir plastic domes that are full of glitter which you get a Disney World or truckstops, the kind that make snow when you turn it over.

Yet another stellar example of the wonderful technique of ... OVER EXPLAINING. Oh wow, I'm not a Harvard graduate like you, but I still know what a fucking snow globe is! The physics of it are not entirely concealed from me! Really!

She's also a dumbass, what can I say.

Missing out on daylight twice a week was very detrimental to my moods since I am extremely photosensitive.
So you took a night security job WHY?

Harvard, where the dormitory space is so nice and usually so much cheaper than anything you can find on the local real estate market
So you rented an off-campus flat WHY?

The birthday party scene made me want to shoot her. I really should have more sympathy for her, given the whole 'been there, done that, sobbed over the black t-shirt' shtick. But I don't. Maybe because if I had a tonne of boyfriends and got into Harvard, I'd be happy? I don't know. I figure analysing this will take me to a Bad Place.

There were some moments of YES, though:

'And all this may sound kind of stupid, but I kept thinking,' I continue, 'that they can't lock me away because soon it will be summer and I don't think they have Steve's ice cream at McLean. You know, I started to think about all these little things, and I thought, damn it, I can't die yet. They weren't terribly grand thoughts, just mundane pleasures that I still had to look foward to.'

Nothing that extraordinary, but when you're four years old, it's cats and dogs that make life worth living. And I kind of think it's maybe not so different now.

I had some bastardised form of CBT when I was in therapy. My line now is that 'happiness is a sandwich.' Because it is. And happiness is when it doesn't rain when you walk to college, when you find a book you've been looking for in Waterstones, when there's a half-price DVD you want to buy, when your hair goes right, when he smiles at you. It's fucking hard to maintain, but I had a year of relative happiness and I know it exists, now - just not in the form I assumed it did. (And now I'm exhausted and not very happy and amazed that I was, but ... I was. You know?)

Gratefulness is the key to happiness. Pity you have to be depressed to figure it out. Pity it costs everything you have. SOB SOB, BLAH BLAH.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2008:
Middlemarch | Invisible Monsters | A Thousand Splendid Suns | Love in the Time of Cholera | Oscar and Lucinda | Kim | Breakfast at Tiffany's | Atonement | To the Lighthouse | On the Road | Brideshead Revisited | Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance | Bonjour Tristesse | A Passage to India | Three Men in a Boat | Vile Bodies

(GIF. Spencer is not referring to the book. To the fact that he's the American legal drinking age in three days, maybe. Book? Noooooo.)
Current Music: jocasta (noah and the whale)
jehnt: tongue herojehnt on August 31st, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
lol that book always looked potentially depressing and lame to me... I'm glad that my judging of the cover was accurate.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: FOB: a little more touch mescoradh on August 31st, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Is it the one with the uber-cool orange stitching? I wonder if the girl is Elizabeth. Pity her for the horrible nineties highwaisted jeans.

(lookit MAH ICON)
jehnt: spn - dean winchesterjehnt on August 31st, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
The cover I've seen is this one. It does not entice me to read the book, especially since the girl looks like she's trying to make me GTFO.

(and yay icons!)

p.s. I am ALMOST done with Three Men in a Boat and when I am, I'll read/comment on your review of it and write my own. I haven't even LOOKED at what you wrote about it yet because I'm ~forming my own impressions~. LOL.

Edited at 2008-08-31 10:44 pm (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: Hush Sound: balloonsscoradh on August 31st, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
This is the one I have. Interestingly, googling 'prozac nation' turns up loads of pics of nekkid wimmens. Why is that, do you think?

HA, I can't wait to see what you thought! You know, I've not come across a review of any book I've read so far, yet.
jehnt: eyes - chris/harlan - look at thatjehnt on August 31st, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
Huh, your cover looks a lot more interesting than the one I've seen. Also, lol, naked women. Wasn't Jonathan Rhys Meyers naked in the movie of it? I seem to remember having seen clips/pictures of that. And by "having seen them" I mean "having searched long and hard on the intarwebs for them when I was like 15."

So far I find it ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS, but am confused that the hilarity is punctuated by, like, long musings about clouds and forests and such. I'm like STFU about the landscape/towns already!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: PATD: Spencer + awesomescoradh on August 31st, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
There was a movie of it? That must have been a laugh a minute.

Oh, Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I loved him so in Bend it like Beckham. He's from Buttavent. lol.

I think that was vaguely sarcastic? Like, lalala beauty, oops, fell in the river?
jehnt: st - ds9 - as many lifetimes as it takesjehnt on August 31st, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
I've not seen the actual movie, just the naked JRM parts. lol.

I dunno, my version came with an introduction that said he aimed to write this long epic river-journey tale (OR SOMETHING) and then just... idk, got confused and ended up being really funny instead. Also the intro said this: "His preacher father, also named Jerome, gave his youngest child the unusual middle name of Klapka in honor of a Hungarian general, George Klapka, who once lived with the Jeromes and became a family friend. It is tempting to suspect that growing up in a household of Jerome Jeromes and Hungarian expatriates encouraged the author's nascent talent for bemused observations of everyday life." heh. I LOLed. Jerome Jeromes! Until I read that, I had thought that Jerome K. Jerome was merely an entertaining pen-name!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: PATD: Brendon Urie knows who he iscoradh on September 1st, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
I can see where that would be educational. ;D

I know the first thing I'D do, were my last name Jerome, is to call my kid Jerome. Not.
alpestarsalpestars on August 31st, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
Haha... I don't think I'll ever quite find the time to finish any of those books you read and reviewed, so thanks for the commentaries! They're quite entertaining, and moreso than the books'll probably ever be.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: FOB: a little more touch mescoradh on September 1st, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
They were entertaining, if by entertaining you mean rage-provoking. :D It keeps me motivated, what can I say?
Ticcadaniellafromage on September 1st, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
I read the book last year and hated it. Supposedly there's a point we're missing - but even if that's the case, I don't care. I don't know. It just felt as though it was edgy for the sake of being edgy, and that irritated me.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: Hush Sound: haystacksscoradh on September 1st, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
IT WAS EDGY? Didn't catch that one. Sry, Liz. She'll get a nasty shock if she tries her hand at fiction, where there actually has to be a plot.
(Anonymous) on September 1st, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
I never read this one but your whole description kinda reminds me of "The Bell Jar" which I was forced to read in high school. Total torture! It's probably the most famous account of clinical depression; but there seem to be tons of them written since. And while there's a academic value, I honestly don't get why they are popular or people *want* to read them.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: Hush Sound: Greta is prittyscoradh on September 1st, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
I think this was pimped as ground-breaking, but if the Bell Jar is what you say, then the Bell Jar was ground-breaking and this is just superfluous. And I very much doubt anyone wants to read them, except for the same reason I did - to say you did!
Minnow: checkeredwaterhouse-icon_goddessminnow_53 on September 1st, 2008 07:32 am (UTC)
Oh, I did LOL at this, out of total empathy with you. I actually thought the book was quite decently written overall, but it must be hard to be more self-absorbed and full of yourself than EW is.

She was depressed, it sucked, for some reason people didn't murder her in her sleep.

:D *quiet ripple of applause*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: PATD: boypilescoradh on September 1st, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
It was decently written in the sense that she could confidently wipe the floor with Jordan, but the whole concept of stringing plot ideas together? Nope, she was behind the door crying when that lesson was going on.

I don't care, she WRECKED MY HEAD.
Lord Marmaduke Newbrycatsmeat on September 1st, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, no-one does genuine reviews in newspapers anymore, it's just a case of how much pressure/money you throw at the problem until they cave and write a glowing one.

This hasn't been happening with you, has it?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: PATD: Brendon's squishyscoradh on September 1st, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
I am not as such crushed by the weight of banknotes, no.

If someone offered me money for a review, I'd totally take it! And then write whatever I wanted. People who are silly enough to do that should have their money taken away so they can't do Bad Things with it.
Lord Marmaduke Newbrycatsmeat on September 1st, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
rule number one of freelance journalism: Always take the money in advance.

rule number two of freelance journalism: always get the young man's name and address.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: Hush Sound: Greta asleepscoradh on September 1st, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
But are there many black dogs with orange eyebrows in the business?
Lord Marmaduke Newbrycatsmeat on September 2nd, 2008 08:55 am (UTC)
Every publisher has one, to discourage riff-raff!
Lord Marmaduke Newbrycatsmeat on September 2nd, 2008 08:59 am (UTC)
Wow. I actually only just read this. You've alot of rage!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: bandsscoradh on September 2nd, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
Well, yes.
Lord Marmaduke Newbrycatsmeat on September 2nd, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
and are remarkably restrained over what is a terrible habit. Apologies?