Is It Just Me? By Miranda Hart
In a nutshell:
Actress and comedian Hart shares stories and lessons of her life through the mechanism of talking to her younger self.
Why I chose it:
Hart always struck me as a kind and fun woman. Plus, as a fellow very tall woman, I appreciate that she’s been able to make a career in film and television.
I first became aware of Hart when she played in Spy with Melissa McCarthy. She made me laugh a lot, and I was surprised when she showed up in Call the Midwife, which I started watching from the beginning after I moved to the UK. When this book showed up as a suggestion in Audible, I figured I’d check it out.
I listened to this in two parts, with a two month break in between, so I’m afraid my recall of the first half is a bit limited. However I can speak to the overall feel of this book, and it’s that of drinking a hot chocolate while cuddled up on the couch on a Sunday afternoon. It’s not offensive (save for some outdated language that I’d imagine she would have revised were she writing this today) – it’s just sweet. It’s encouraging and supportive, and also self-deprecating in a way that feels authentic.
The rhetorical device Hart employs (which works quite well in audio form) is that she’s sharing tips and stories with her 18-year-old self, while talking to us, the reader. She is 38 at the time of writing this, and has some suggestions. It’s a simple concept, but at times it’s a bit deep, as she captures well the assumptions our younger selves make and how that doesn’t often match reality. And that isn’t sad or anything, it’s just … different. It’s most stark when ‘Little M’ (e.g. 18-year-old Miranda) make some assumptions that author Miranda is married and has children. Which she isn’t and doesn’t. And that’s not a bad thing for older Miranda, but it doesn’t fit what Little M expects.
It got me thinking about what those of us who are creeping closer to middle age would say to our younger selves. What expectations did we have? What dreams did we let go of because it made sense to, or our interests changes? Conversely, which dreams did we let go of that we could perhaps pick up again? What’s changed? What mortifying or hilarious events in our youth do we view differently now, with some time, space, and a bit more wisdom? I’m not sure Hart imagined her book would invoke such thoughts, but maybe she did. If so, job well done!
Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it: