Girl Walks Into a Bar
Written by Ashley Kelmore, Posted in Feminism, Reviews
I see two fellow Cannonballers have reviewed this book so far; their reviews actually reminded me that I wanted to pick up this book. Once again I chose the audio book route (at the end of the year I should put together a post comparing all the female-written and -read memoirs I’ve listened to this year) and am really happy I did.
As the other reviewers have pointed out, the focus of the book isn’t so much a behind-the-scenes SNL expose; yes that gets coverage as it is part of her life but it’s only part of her story. It’s interesting, it’s well-told, and it provides some insight into that world, but it was only about seven years of her life, so it makes sense to not spend the entire book on that time period.
Ms. Dratch strikes me as pretty laid back, cool lady. She’s funny, entertaining, and can write really well. She also strikes me as one of the most self-aware humans on the planet. Pretty close to the beginning of the book, she starts talking about the 30 rock ‘incident.’ I could hear the exhaustion in her voice, and I don’t blame her. I cannot imagine how frustrating and annoying (not to mention hurtful at times) it must be to be responsible for some hilarious roles and yet have her still most talked about role be ‘getting fired’ from 30 rock.
And to be clear – she’s really not hung up on it. She talks about it because we’re interested in it. But because the implication, the suggestion in hushed (and not so hushed) tones in the celebrity media, is that she lost out because she is not as attractive as Jane Krakowski, it’s repeatedly mentioned when Ms. Dratch’s name comes up. Can you imagine that something that was a bummer for you (losing a job because of a decision to have a different type of character in that position) becomes some giant (celebrity) news story about how you aren’t pretty enough? Ugh. She’s gracious in telling the story, and while others might be skeptical, I believe that she’s made her peace with it and really wishes the rest of us would just move on.
Some of the best parts of this memoir are her discussions about the types of work she is now offered and about her relationship with her son’s father John. Seriously, the entire final third of the book, while not really talking much at all about SNL or 30 Rock, is some of the best writing and the most interesting. I had dinner plans Monday night and was pretty annoyed that my friend showed up just as Ms. Dratch narrated that she’d just checked the pregnancy test and there were two stripes. I knew what was going to happen next (I mean, I knew she had a kid so assumed this was the start of that story), but the writing and the delivery of the words was so compelling I really did not want to turn it off.
I’d definitely recommend this book to others. It’s not particularly long (5 1/2 hours on audio; most of the books I’ve listened to have been between 6 and 8 hours) but it’s interesting, clever and sweet.