Creating a world painting in warm tones with splashes of colour, this book is exactly what it sets out to be: A little weird.
If you don’t know Jenny Slate, then this book will make exactly zero sense to you. It’s marked by wild tales of growing up among ghosts with a touch of contemporary criticism of what the world looks like around here today. In one chapter, you might see your own mother in the depiction of her’s, and in the next, you might swoon over a boy trying to teach a puppy how to sit on a skateboard. It’s a bit all over the place while also remaining consistent in that none of the stories connect, yet somehow, they fit together using the underlying theme of finding beauty in everything.
A lot of what Slate writes in the book feels like nonsense. She retells tales of the smallest, most minuscule occurrences in her life that other people would probably look past in an hour’s time, yet she revels in them as if they’re some of the biggest parts of her days. After reading some chapters, you may wonder, “Why?” Some passages feel so heavily overwritten that you almost want to put down the book and never pick it up again. But while even those chapters exist, there’s enough content that’s redemptive, pure, and actually relatable that you want to keep going.
One of the best parts of the book is when she retells the falling out of her marriage. While this topic of conversation is the furthest thing from new and can be a source of pure gossip if done maniacally, the way she shares her experience makes it less about her former partner but more about what she learned. She writes about having to lose one of the largest parts of her world to finally find herself again: “I am that mysterious stranger that I hoped to meet. I met her at a dark dance. We came here to live together until I could stay by myself. The place is here. The time is now. This is all my lifetime.”
And again, after you sift through overly written passages on something as simple as honeysuckle, you’ll come across compelling content that makes you actually feel something real – something that applies to your own life even though she’s writing an autobiography. When she writes about how it feels to be made small as a woman, if you’re ever been in those shoes, the way she writes pierces you in your core. “I am tired of sinking down to a lower place to be with men. I am tired of throwing a tarp over some of my personality so that the shape of my identity suits some gross man a little better for whatever shitty things he needs to do in order to keep his boring identity erect and supreme.”
Is “Little Weirds” a perfect book? No, and probably far from it. But what makes it an enjoyable read is the bits of lessons weaved alongside personal anecdotes that almost feel universal. As a comedian, she has a way with words, and as a writer, she’s finding her footing.
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Larissa Hamblin is a digital writer based in Brooklyn.