There are books you like, recommend to your friends and then slowly, over time forget about. Then there are the rare books that you take everywhere because you love them so much that they become almost an extension of you. These cherished books are forced upon friends, family members, neighbors, heck, you even read passages aloud to your cat in the hopes that they might understand the brilliance you’re trying to convey. Samantha Irby’s book of essays, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, most definitely falls in the latter category and is the best book I’ve read all year (natch, one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life).
Note to the author: Samantha, (can I call you Sam?), the rest of this review will bring out my white girl privilege and for that you can openly mock me (although I hope you won’t because in my mind you’re my kindred spirit for life).
Back to my very personal review… I’ve always felt very alone in the world until I read WANMIRL. Like the self-deprecating Irby, I’ve also always felt a cloud of sadness, unsure of how to connect with people, and ostracized for being overweight and perpetually broke. At every point in my life I’ve felt ashamed – of how I look, of how introverted I am, and how I’ve never lived up to Western society’s standards (let alone boys I was attracted to). In each essay Irby takes all the nastiness the world has thrown at her and, with her trademark barbed wit and self-reflection, throws it all right back. She openly and hilariously writes about her depression, how terrible working in customer service is (it truly is the worst!), failed attempts at finding love with the wrong men (and then discovering what true love is with her current partner, a woman), being overweight and black, her unruly cat (as the owner of a crazy cat myself, I really appreciated this chapter) and learning to overcome all her self-hatred.
I promise that you’ll laugh, you’ll cry (oftentimes while reading the same sentence) and you won’t feel so alone in the world after reading Samantha Irby’s brilliant essays.
We Are Never Meeting In Real Life was provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. It may be purchased from your friendly independent bookseller or other fine bookstores.