“You think it was bad when you were pulling all-nighters in college? Don’t worry, it gets worse.”
Book Title: Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse
Author: Alida Nugent
Publisher: Plume (Penguin)
Date Published: May 7th, 2013
Date Read: May 25th, 2014
Cover Love: It’s cute! It’s apt – you might look put together, but really you’re completely messed up in the head. It’s attention-catching, which all covers need to be.
Given Synopsis: “Alida Nugent graduated college with a degree in one hand and a drink in the other, eager to trade in parties and all-nighters for “the real world.” But post-grad wasn’t the glam life she imagined. Soon buried under a pile of bills, laundry, and three-dollar bottles of wine, it quickly became clear that she had no idea what she was doing. But hey, what twentysomething does?
In Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, Nugent shares what it takes to make the awkward leap from undergrad to “mature and responsible adult that definitely never eats peanut butter straight from the jar and considers it a meal.” From trying to find an apartment on the black hole otherwise known as Craigslist to the creative maneuvering needed to pay off student loans and still enjoy happy hour, Nugent documents the formative moments of being a twentysomething with a little bit of snark and a lot of heart. Based on her popular Tumblr blog The Frenemy, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse is a love note to boozin’, bitchin’ ladies everywhere.”
What I’d Add: It’s actually a great blurb – definitely what the book is about!
It’s Sorta Like: Now this one reminds me of Sloane Crosley’s humorous essay collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake. Which is an awesome book. It’s one I’d consider a favorite because it did what I seldom do with books (even if they’re flat-out fantastic): laugh out loud.
My Grade: B+
Not only did I want to read this because graduation season is coming up and I wanted to at least read some of my suggestions for gifts/have the possibility of actually gifting things that I read and approved to friends of mine who are graduating (If that makes sense. Anyway!), Nugent is also writing from a perspective that I’m particularly primed to hear. She writes this as a college graduate a couple of years removed from the school scene, trying to figure out how to support herself (i.e. not have to live with her parents forever), how to navigate romantic pitfalls like online dating, and things you learn in this particular workplace we call RETAIL. I too, am working in said work sector (Nugent has since found her way out, but her essays dealing with the scary universe of job hunting and the total crap you put up with when you take a retail job is spot-on and often genuinely hilarious), AND am trying to find a way to be self-sufficient AND not have to live with my parents forever.
The most important thing for a book of humorous essays, in my opinion, is that it matches your humor as the reader. You could have every other person say “Oh! But have you read David Sedaris/Chelsea Handler/Nora Ephron? They’re my FAVORITE!” and you buy a copy, read a couple stories, and just not get it. I mean, technically, the same is true for fiction, but humorous essays need to be specifically relate-able. You have to see something in the subject matter that you at least somehow relate to. And the humor has to be right. If you’re not into crude, drunken debauchery, don’t read books like I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (Tucker Max). If you don’t get or don’t use super sarcastic anecdotes, and you aren’t around people who talk like that, then you might not appreciate this book and others like it.
Nugent’s humor sat right with me. She talks like my friends and I talk when we’re around each other, she portrays the very real fears and insecurities that we feel with a heaping spoonful of sarcasm (which is just how we like it served). I cannot claim to be a humorous essay connoisseur, but I have read a few that I’ve loved, and a few that I didn’t get. The good ones made me laugh out loud. Often, in public. And I won’t get embarrassed (not that laughing aloud while reading a book would be sufficient enough to embarrass me. I have experienced far worse in many a coffee shop and restaurant). Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse had me giggling at work, in the passenger seats of cars, and had me reading aloud passages to friends and family.
And not only is the humor great, but the little gem of advice, the moral to every story, seems very genuine to me. Nugent makes you snort your soda through your nose, and then gets sweet. She makes you feel like she cares about you and your very real and normal fears. My favorite piece in the book is her spoof on inspirational graduation speeches, “It’s Your Day, Now Let Me Talk”. It’s got all the great hallmarks of those YouTube-d speeches, with a heavy dose of self-deprecation, wit, and genuine good advice. Plus, it’s where she takes her great title from.
I would have liked the book itself to be longer, maybe include a couple more stories, expand beyond some tropes that Nugent relies on a little too often (jobs, wine, and friendship…although on second thought all of those topics are pretty rife for storytelling). But overall I thought this collection was funny and relateable, which is exactly what you’d want it to be.