Fame-Ish: My Life At The Edge of Stardom by Mary Lynn Rajskub
Not people who like the author, as I think this might lead them to not…
In a nutshell:
Actor and comedian Rajskub shares stories of her life before and during her time as a fairly well-known actor.
N/A (Audio book)
Why I chose it:
Celebrity memoir read by the author. One of my favorite genres.
Do you ever read a book that you think you’ll enjoy and just … not connect with it at all? That was my experience with this book. I do wonder whether if I had read a paper version I might have enjoyed it, but something about the author’s reading of her own words made the stories mostly unpleasant. And I don’t mean that the stories were meant to be dark or hard and I just wasn’t getting it – I think the author read her essays in a tone that just sounds mean rather than honest, if that makes sense.
For example, the very last chapter of the book involves a story of a date she went on, that was yeah, not great, but she’s so deeply unkind to the person on the date in her retelling that I was kind of on the guy’s side. There’s an entitlement that, even if she has a point, she comes across in a really unflattering way. Like, to the point where I’d think this was a book written by someone who doesn’t really like Rajskub.
In another chapter she talks about a rough experience on an independent film set mid pandemic and again, it’s just like – yep, that all sounds kinda not great, but the way she tells the story, I just kind of thought ‘you don’t seem like a great person here either.’ With some authors, telling a story where they don’t come across great is a way to show some growth, a lesson they’ve learned. But here I don’t get the same type of self-awareness from the author.
It’s hard to write a review like this, because I’m essentially picking away at someone’s actual life, but I think I’m instead taking issue with the way the stories are being told. The date story, the film story, other stories I think could have been interesting and shown growth and an interesting personality from the author, but I don’t think that as a writer those skills are there yet.
Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it: