Are you a public library person? A bookstore person? I think I’m more of a bookstore person, though I love the idea of libraries. The thing that holds me back from full public library adoration, is my dislike for the general public. I have a friend who always says – individuals are awesome, but people suck. He’s right.
When I first embarked on the adventures of stay-at-home-mommyhood, I had high notions of becoming a library person. After all, I was no longer raking in paychecks, and I needed to feed my reading addiction. Picture me, frazzled and exhausted, infant in arms, reading my library book, only to discover a GIANT booger smeared across one of the pages. I’ve been plagued with questions about this booger for years. I made it HALFWAY through the germ-encrusted tome. What unseemly secretions may I have unknowingly touched along the way? What type of person smears a booger across the page of a book, and what other disgusting acts did they inflict upon library property? Gross.
All the same, I have fond memories of summer visits to the library with my Aunt Carrie and two cousins. So much so, that I associate the library with summer. Not wishing to deprive my children of the experience, I still frequent the children’s section of my local library branch. This last trip, I impulsively grabbed a couple of books off the featured shelf for grown-ups. My bravery was rewarded with the comedic memoir You’ll Grow Out of It.
Comedian and author, Jessi Klein, kicks this book off by explaining how she started life as a tomboy. She says her inner voice always sounded like the male narrator from The Wonder Years, and explains:
“I think this is because the very idea of possessing an ‘inner voice’ felt by definition like a male characteristic. In contrast, the tent poles of ‘femininity’ as I observed them- high heels, eye makeup, Diet Coke, smiling, etc.- all seemed to be focused on the external”
For the rest of this book, Klein explores the dissonance between her own feelings of femininity and how the world appears to define womanhood. I think most women can relate to feeling at odds with female socialization. Klein normalizes this aspect of womanhood through her insights on a wide variety of topics, including: Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, dating, sex, wedding dress shopping, The Bachelor, and other poignant issues. She offers occasional sage wisdom, such as:
“When you encounter a man wearing loafers with no socks, run”
Klein is undeniably funny. She is also brutally honest; willing to share stories from her past that are awkward or even outright embarrassing. This book made me genuinely laugh out loud, and also surprised me with its serious insights.
Of course, of course, not every reader will appreciate Klein’s humor, or approve of some of her recollections. For the most part though, this book is exceptionally accessible. My only disappointment is that I got it from the library, and therefore must return it. Really, I’d far prefer adding it to my bookshelf, right next to Lindy West’s Shrill. Though this reference will only make sense to those who’ve read the book, I’ll end by saying- if Klein is a wolf, I’ll gladly run with her pack.