Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Story of My Life

I am moving out my house in thirty nine days. I am leaving the neighbourhood I grew up in, and the only city I have ever known. In thirty nine days, I am moving six hours away, and I don't know if I'll ever really come back. 

Scared doesn't begin to describe what I'm feeling right now. Lonely. Anxious. Sad. But also excited. Because when I move out of my house, I get to move into a new dorm room, and live with people who aren't related to me for the first time. Because when I leave my neighbourhood, I get to move into a dorm with hundreds of new neighbours. Because when I leave my city I get to meet a new town and a new province. 

Most of all, I am excited because I finally get to begin my life. What exactly does that mean? I mean, given all the possibilities, both good and bad, how will my life turn out? 

I don't know. But I'd like to try to describe it for you. They say you should lay the tracks for the future you want. Well, here I am. 

After four years of university, I greatest thing I hope for is experience. Academic experience, that will show me exactly what I want to do and exactly what I'm meant to be. Social experience, that will give me the true best friend I've always wanted and the boyfriend I've always dreamed of. Life experience, that will make me smarter, wiser, and happier. I'm not going to go seeking regrets, but I'm not going to fear them either. I want to kiss stupid guys. I want to make tons of new friends, until I can find the few I truly need. I want to be a good friend, a good student, and a good person. 

Plans change all the time. Right now, I plan to major in english and education, in hopes of becoming a writer, a librarian, or a teacher, or maybe a bit of all three. But I know that could change. In college, I want to discover passion, and I understand that that passion could lead me away from current plans. But, for now, I can only assume that I will stick to the plan. 

After college, I imagine myself maybe going to graduate school. Or teaching overseas. Or teaching in Canada, if the job market gets better (I'm not counting on that one though). I wouldn't be shocked if I still wrote, in some capacity. Maybe just blogging. Maybe short stories. Maybe reviews. Maybe a novel. Who knows. 

Assuming my life will be the fairytale I've always been promised (and I do not assume this at all, but this is my fantasy, so I'll go with it), I'll meet some great guy, either in college or in the year or two afterwards. What will he be like? Hmm. Interesting question. Well, I'd like him to be nice. Genuinely kind, always wanting to help people, a real, good person. I'd like him to be smart. I respect smart people. I'd like him to have a job he loves. And I'd like him to love me. 


After a few years together, he would propose. In a private place that was meaningful only to the two of us. Intimate. Alone. Personal. I'd say yes, without a second of doubt. We would get married in a small  ceremony--twenty guests, tops. The only people who would be invited would be people who really mean something to us. Our parents. Possibly his siblings (hopefully he has some, or our kid won't have any aunts or uncles or cousins, which would suck!). Best friends. My father would walk me down the aisle. During the father/daughter dance, we'd play a Barenaked Ladies song, probably If I Had A Million Dollars or What A Good Boy. 

Soon, we'd have kids. Sooner rather than later. Given the choice, I'd have kids at twenty-two. I'd almost have kids now. If I have one goal in my life, it's to have children. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a writer. But, more than that, I want to be a mother. That is what I am meant to do, more than anything else. 


We'd have two, possibly three kids. Hopefully the first one would be a girl. She would be named Amelia. Because I like that it has so many vowels. Because of Amelia Thermopolis, the girl who first made me love reading. Because of Amelia Earhart, the girl who wasn't afraid to fly. Because it is the name I gave to my first character in my first real story. Because it meaning to strive or excel, which sounds like me, but also sounds like someone so much better than me. 

I would want her to have at least one sibling, the brother or sister I never had. If it was boy, I'd probably name him Henry. A good, solid name. Or something else. I'm less fond of boys names. Somewhere, in all the different first names and middle names, I'd like to use the name Cassiopeia. It's the name of a greek constellation. I've always loved it. And it could be Cassie, for short, and I'd like that as well. 

Hopefully, my husband would be able to teach my kids the things I can't. How to be outgoing and personable and friendly. How not to be scared. Me, I'd teach them how to work hard. How to trust and love. How to live life with a big heart. How to live, not only survive. I'd share my passions with them. You can bet that any daughter of mine will have a library full of young adult books at her disposal. I can also promise you that on her eleventh or twelfth or possibly thirteenth birthday, she would unwrap her very own copy of Judy Blume's Forever. A parent can teach their kids about such things. But only Judy Blume can make them  understand in the way they need to. 

One day, my kids will grow up. Become teenagers. If they tried to get involved in academics, I'd tell them to be careful. Tell them to live all sides of life, to not limit themselves. But I'd also be proud of them. I'd feel a special connection. But either way, no matter what I say or what I want, they'll grow up, and move out of my house, my neighbourhood, and my city, to attend some school six or seven or eight hours away. One day, they'll be here, where I am today. And I'll feel scared and anxious and sad and excited for them too. I'd tell them that it'd all work out, somehow. 

That's what I want. That's how I want the story of my life to be written. But we'll see. Things  could always change. And I'd be open to that too. 


Friday, July 22, 2011

Movie Review: Ginny & Harry, Ron & Hermione

Let me tell you about the Harry Potter series. You may have heard of it. I've been told it's popular in Europe or something.

The first book is largely forgetful. At this point, readers were left to assume that Harry and Hermione would get together (or was that just me?), but since they were only eleven years old nothing could happen (I say, never too early for romance, but for some crazy reason, most people don't agree). The second book is no more significant, except, if I recall, it formally introduces Ginny Wesley, future love interest, involved in something called the Chamber of Secrets. The third book is a little longer, a little better, and includes, if I am not mistaken, the stupid cat vs. rat fight between Hermione and Ron (by this point everyone has figured out that these two are The Couple of the series. Many are left disappointed), and the Yule Ball. The first true hint of romance occurs when Hermione gets fed up with Ron and finally yells "Why didn't you ask me yourself?" or something to that extent.

The story progresses in the fourth book, but I have no idea where it goes. Harry kiss some girl named Cho Chang in the next book, but I don't remember anything else about her since she's not the big love interest. Finally, finally, finally, after slogging through five freaking books, we get to the sixth book, The Half Blood Prince. Hermione and Ron finally make some progress. She asks him to a party; he gladly accepts. Something tragic happens so they never get to go on their date. At the same time, Harry and Ginny grow closer, and eventually kiss, in front of everyone after the Quidditch match, or, in the Room of Requirement, depending on whether you read or watch movies. Harry and Ginny date, then break it off, fearing that her life is at risk for one reason or another. They kiss again in the next film, they both survive the evil wizard, and nineteen years later they have kids. Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione have been growing ever closer, holding hands as they fall asleep, acting protective and jealous, and then, finally sharing the kissing everyone was so eagerly waiting for.

That about sums it up, right?

I kid, I kid. I am aware that other things happen in the books. But I'm not exactly sure what...Anyways, I'm not going to attempt to review Harry Potter for you. That would be insane. There are a million and one blogs, newspapers, and, probably, by this point, novels, reviewing the latest movie, and any type of opinion or analysis I would attempt would be god awful in comparison. If that's what your looking for, thanks for stopping by. But, if, like me, you only read the books for the romance, please stick around. I have many things to say.

First, we have to establish the fact that the first seven movies handed the romance terribly. Everything was excruciating, so beyond awkward that it was hard to watch. And while most of the wizarding stuff was followed to the letter, the romantic scenes were completely reconfigured. Suddenly, Harry and Ginny's kiss wasn't in front of a giant crowd celebrating victory, but rather in some random room, alone. Somehow, romantic tension had been reduced down to awkward stares. It was bad, so bad, so expectations were low going into the last movie.

Let's start with Harry and Ginny. We'll save the best for last.

They were not the greatest couple in the books, but they were destroyed through every second of the films. I've already called it awkward. What else can I say? According to my trusty dashboard thesaurus, I can also describe it as embarrassing, uncomfortable, and unpleasant. The final film did nothing to fix this. They had the terribly self conscious moment when they reunited, just staring at each other while everyone watched. And they had the kiss, as awkward as ever.

One good thing I will say is that I liked how the kiss was staged in this film. It wasn't over dramatic. It was a quick kiss, a desperate attempt at love amidst all the chaos. But the actual kiss itself was awful. As many internet commenters have said, these two actors have absolutely no chemistry. The kiss had no heat.

Also, I liked how they kept looking for each other at various points in the film, to make sure they were still alive. A little awkward, but also a little sweet.

Overall, they were only slightly better than normal, which is still very, very bad.

But they were never The Couple of the series, so the final evaluation on romance was still open. That is, if they got the Ron and Hermione kiss right.

It was certainly the better of the two romantic subplots. They had a certain love, a special type of bond, right from the beginning of the film. You knew something good was coming. 

I went to see the movie with a Harry Potter fanatic who was seeing it for the second time in two days. As the title music came on, I leaned over to her. I was already anxious. I had to ask. "How long until we get to the kiss?" I was desperately waiting for this kiss. And I was not disappointed. 

I was surprised it took place with they were alone in the Chamber of Secrets rather than trying to save elves with Harry. But these were both good surprises. One of limitations of the first person perspective of the books is that everything had to be seen through Harry's eyes. They couldn't kiss alone--Harry wouldn't have been there. When they kissed, Harry's disgust largely ruined the moment. 

But in the movie, they were able to share a real, Harry-free moment, and it was great. Passionate. Worth the wait. And the laugh afterwords was cute. 

My friend hates romance. Every time there's a romantic moment on screen (jealousy, kissing, talk of love) she closes her eyes and covers her ears. But even she liked this kiss. As she said, it was mature, genuine, and real. She also said that she thought the laugh after was unscripted. I don't know. I've scene that move before.

The kiss was not just satisfying, it was necessary. Like, they had to kiss, because it could very well be the last chance for them. In most stories, you wouldn't be able to pull that off. The stakes wouldn't be there. But this was Harry Potter. Even though we all know that our favourite trio has to survive, we still get caught up in the suspense. There's a reason these books are so beloved.

I also appreciated that we got some moments after the kiss. When Ron yelled "that's my girlfriend!" and Hermione smiled so much. It's funny that such a social convention as boyfriends and girlfriends could still mean something with everything that was going on. But it did mean something. Because these are still insecure teenagers. It still means something to Ron that he can finally call Hermione, the girl he's loved for so long, his "girlfriend." And it means something to Hermione to hear it.

The other moment I enjoyed was when they walked towards Harry, hand in hand, declaring to Harry and to the world that they were together. I loved how proud they both were. It also made me laugh. One of my biggest problems with Harry's character was his arrogance--every time something happened with Ron and Hermione, he would remark how he knew it was coming. He had that arrogant look on his face now, but this time I didn't mind it.

In the end, they all got together. And even I loved the last frame, where it was just the three of them. Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter. Romance be damned, these were the best of friends. Forever. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sex: A Healthy Compromise

Summary: Dominique Baylor meets Wes at a school football game, and is instantly charmed. She pursues him, but he seems hesitant. She just tries harder. Finally, she makes it through his shy, insecure exterior and they fall in love. The rest of the book maps their relationship, from their senior year of high school to their first semester of college. 

Or, to summarize it in one sentence, Judy Blume's Forever, circa 2007. 


It is impossible for me to review this book without comparing it to Forever. That is the obvious comparison, and I think it's an important comparison to make. 

In the world of YA lit, Forever was a groundbreaker. It talked about sex at a time no one was allowed to talk about sex. It described sex at a time when everyone could still pretend teenagers didn't have sex! And, predictably, it became one of the most challenged books in YA history. 

I read it when I was fourteen or fifteen. I picked it up for a few reasons: (a) it is was by Judy Blume, and I had really enjoyed the Rachel Robinson books (b) it was a defining book of the YA genre and, most importantly, (c) it was about SEX. 

And I loved it. Or, more to the point, I devoured it. Stayed up until 3:00 in the morning to finish it. Here, in my hands, for the first time ever, I had someone actually telling me the truth about sex. Not the mechanics they teach in health class. Not the theatrics they show on tv. But an actual, realistic relationship. 

I still have an immense amount of respect for that book. It is daring, and not just about the sexual stuff. It is daring in romance, telling the story of a relationship that didn't work out, and saying that, you know what, that's okay. This isn't Twilight. When Katherine and Michael break up, she doesn't try to kill herself.

I had read a lot of YA before that, and I've read a lot since, and I can only think of a handful of books that are gusty enough to pull off that move. 

Anatomy of a Boyfriend is Forever, for the new generation. It's hipper, a little less dated. But beyond that, it is basically the same. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think many books should try to emulate the various elements that Forever explored so successfully--the sex, the break up, the transition to college, the challenge of growing up. 

Of course, I can't fully support such a carbon copy like this. When I say it's the same book, I really mean it. It is the exact same book. But I still enjoyed it. The writing was funny, the characters unique, the emotions real. I just don't think we need any more books like this. The groundbreaking is done. The message is clear: your first love is rarely your last love, and your first time is rarely with your last guy.  

I think that this sub-genre really needs to evolve more, and move past that message. In almost every other YA romance I've read, the couple ends up together. But somehow, when sex is involved, that's no longer allowed. Now it has to be a realistic novel. Now they have to break up, to illustrate that all important lesson. Why? Why can't it be more than that? My real question is this: why does the sex have to define the novel?

I've tried to think of other books where teen characters have sex. Ready or Not by Meg Cabot (not graphic sex). The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (implied. Chickened out by bizarrely including a chapter of another book to describe the intimacy). This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (briefly acknowledged that character had sex. Never described it). Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares (not graphic). When It Happens by Susane Colasanti (a large focus of the book. Still not graphic). The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti (so subtly implied that I did not understand that they had sex the first time I read it). Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (less than implied, yet still not graphic. And they were married. Doesn't really count. Oh, Twilight, how I love you). 

In not one of those books do they really talk about sex. They all skim over it, like a cut away shot in movies, where you're supposed to just assume it happened because the characters were sitting alone together and vaguely touching or kissing. And there's no medium. Either the book is Forever or Anatomy of a Boyfriend, and it's a Sex Book, capital S, capital B. Or, it's a romance novel, where all the letters are small, and the word sex is mentioned as few times as possible. How can this be? We know teenagers have sex. We see the results every week on such brilliant shows as 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom

Why can't a girl be nervous about sex, but also have an awesome friendship story line? Why can't YA romance be both realistic and fantastical? Most of all, why is YA literature still trying to send out messages? Haven't we learned? It doesn't work. Teens don't read for the lessons, and moreover, they don't need lessons. Don't preach to kids. They're smarter than that. I've railed against this before, discussing the whole "you have sex and you have to get pregnant rule" that seems to have dominated teen relationships on tv. 

I want the best of both worlds. I want sex-free romance that is realistic, where sometimes they fight because they are growing apart or simply growing up. I want sexy romance where they sometimes end up together. I want both, I want either, and, most of all, I want to be done with the lessons. 

Forever is groundbreaking. Anatomy is a good refresher of that. But from here on out, I want more. Do you hear me, YA gods? 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mini Review: Tina Fey's Bossypants

"You know what I like about it? It doesn't remind me of anything."
~Rory Gilmore, some random episode of Gilmore Girls season 6 

Ah, one of the greatest comments one can get (especially if you're Jess and you've been in love with Rory for four seasons). Sadly, this is not one I will be giving Tina Fey. What made me think of it was the fact that her recent humour book/memoir, Bossypants, reminded me of so many things, and not in a good way.

Love it!

She portrays herself much in the way that Jen Lancaster portrays her character in her memoirs, particularly Bitter is the New Black, where she mocks and satirizes her former self. Only, Jen Lancaster is much more successful with this, producing many laughs, whereas Tina Fey only comes off as annoying. 

Hate it!

Her sense of humour is similar to Amy Poehler's. While I do love Amy Poehler on Parks and Rec, I really don't get her sense of humour outside of that show--Baby Mama, her years on SNL, etc. She has a great energy on Parks, but on shows like SNL that hyperactivity becomes grating. She always goes for the easy, obvious, quick joke, rather than building to a big pay off. I don't think I'd enjoy a book by Amy Poehler, no matter how much I love Leslie Knope. Well, in Bossypants, Tina Fey becomes a lot less Liz Lemon and a lot more Amy Poehler, and it's really not that funny. It's is frustrating and weak and just not that clever. 

Love it!

She attempts to pull off a David Sedaris style of storytelling, where she tells a rather mundane story in a rather funny way. But just as she's no Jen Lancaster, she's no David Sedaris. Many of her stories are more exciting than Sedaris's, yet they are not as entertaining. For a woman who crafts such a clever show each week, she certainly doesn't write very interesting short stories. I'd prefer Sedaris to Fey any day. 

Actor Rob Lowe signs copies of his book "Stories I Only Tell My Friends" at Barnes & Noble, 5th Avenue on May 2, 2011 in New York City.
Love how much he looks like a wax figure!

She hasn't lived a life like Rob Lowe. Part of the reason to read a celebrity book like this is to see all the celebrity references. In Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends, he name drops like crazy and it's so much fun! Tom Cruise! Charlie Sheen! Martin Sheen! Aaron Sorkin! Francis Ford Coppola! In Bossypants, there aren't nearly as many exciting names like that. You get to hear a lot about Amy Poehler and Lorne Michaels (the producer of SNL), and a little bit about Alec Baldwin. That's basically it. It's not nearly exciting and not nearly as fun. 

None of that was good stuff. If you add it all up, the book is not very good. I literally only laughed twice during the entire memoir. And one of those times I was just laughing at a 30 Rock joke she quoted, which doesn't really count. 

That was an issue I struggled with--is this supposed to be humour, or is it just supposed to be a memoir? When the book was being promoted a few months back, it seemed to be sold as humour, and I guess that's the assumption, since it's coming from Tina Fey. But since I was laughing so little, I felt like I should just judge it as a memoir--like I judged Rob Lowe's book. 

In the end, it doesn't live up to my expectations. either as a piece of humour or an autobiography. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

IB Scores

In IB, there are a possible 45 points which can be scored; 42 in subjects, and 3 bonus points for the Extended Essay (EE) and Theory of Knowledge (TOK).

Nobody scores that high. Well, except for Sheldon Cooper level brainiacs. It would be akin to scoring a perfect 2400 on the SAT.

42 is what it takes to get a scholarship at McGill. 40 is what it takes to get into Oxford.

I was predicted at 40 in January. I just got my results. My final score is 32.

An 8 point loss. One in each subject: english, french, history, math, biology, and theatre arts. And two in EE/TOK.

To put it quite simply, that is devastating. Heartbreaking. Horrifying.

I know that on this blog, I usually talk about happy things. Romantic books. Funny tv shows. At worse, a bad story or two from my high school days. But, if you would allow, I'd like to talk about something that isn't happy or funny, something that's way worse than some stupid kids being thoughtless or even mean. I'd like to talk about this failure. I need to talk about it. I need to move past it. I'm going crazy here.

There's no way to sugar coat this. This is a big deal. This isn't just one assignment or one test. I can't make up for this later. I can't pretend this doesn't matter. It does. I worked for this for two long years. In fact, if I'm being honest, I worked for this for four years, since the day I set foot in high school. I was invested in this. It mattered to me. It matters to a lot of people. I can't deny that. I wish it weren't true, but it is.

At the end of the day, it doesn't change my life in any real way. I'm still going to go to the same university, in my first choice program, with the best scholarship they offer. But it changes my life in a lot of abstract ways that it will take a long time for me to accept and move past.

First and foremost, it changes what I think of myself. It makes me so angry, so embarrassed, so frustrated, and so disappointed. During all my semesters in high school, I spent most of them earning a 95%+ average. As illustrated by my last post, that was a point of pride for me. It validated me. It made me confident in myself. It allowed me to call myself smart without hesitation. It became a fundamental part of who I thought I was. Now, this doesn't change all of that. But it certainly challenges it. Which is hard to deal with. Very, very, hard to deal with.

It also changes what other people think of me. Each subject mark is sent to each respective teacher. The IB coordinator at my school will see all my marks, including my final score. Now, I only went down one point in each class. My marks are still respectable. I still have a 90%+ average. But my marks aren't stellar. I can still show my face at my old school. I just wish I was able to hold my head a little higher, walk a little straighter.

There's also the matter of telling my friends. As of now, I plan on telling my best friend, and no one else. That'll be hard, since it's the big news right now, but not impossible, since it's summer, and we don't see each other all that often, since everyone is travelling and working. But keeping the secret is only half the battle. I also have to pray that I don't find out anyone else's scores. I really couldn't stand if everyone beat me. I'm not that big a person. I was always top of the class. Though I have undoubtably tumbled far from that spot, I really don't need the evidence to confirm that fact, thank you.

My score also has other ramifications, that it's taking me a while to realize. It casts a shadow on my entire  time in IB, my entire experience in high school. And that really sucks. It's makes me feel more than a little scared for university courses in september.

The place where I lost the most points was my extended essay. My advisor was my absolute favourite teacher. She predicted me at an A, telling me to make a few changes to grammar and formatting, but otherwise telling me it was great. Well, IB didn't think so. They awarded me a C.

I was really proud of that essay. I think it was maybe the best essay I've ever written. And I'm an english student, so that's saying a lot. So, this result makes me doubt myself as a writer and a reader. I wrote the essay about two of my favourite books, Crow Lake by Mary Lawson and the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This mark kind of leaves a stain on those books, which is unfortunate.

On top of that, it makes me doubt my favourite teacher. If she had told me to rewrite the whole essay, I would have. I would have done anything to please her, to meet her standards. But she didn't think anything was wrong. She loved it. If she was wrong about this, what else was she wrong about? She's one of the main reasons I think I'll succeed with english in my life. What if she was wrong about that too?

Perhaps the biggest fallout is how this changes my perspective and my beliefs. I thought that if I worked as hard as I could and gave all my effort, I could achieve almost anything. Well, look, I couldn't even achieve this. That's hard to recover from. I always believed that my hard work would pay off. But it didn't. What does that mean for my future?

Thanks for reading, whoever is currently with me. Thanks for letting work through this a little bit with you. I'm just another step closer. It's going to take a while to get over this. I've been experiencing a cycle of emotions, a grieving process, if you will. First, shock. I couldn't believe it was that low. Then anger, at IB, at my teachers, at everyone. Then bitterness. One day, I know I'll find acceptance. But that day is not today. And I don't think it'll be tomorrow either.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An awesome, smart, romance loving, celebrity obsessed girl I'd like you to meet

All my life, I have struggled with being smart. When I was younger, I used to say that "I'm not smart, I just work really hard." I still think that's partially true. I do work really hard. But, as I've grown up and survived four grueling years of high school, I have come to think of myself as at least a little intelligent.

Finally, I accept this in myself. Yet, the world around me still doesn't. I may have the top IB score in my class (in the history of my school, for that matter!), but no one cares. I may have one of the top three averages in my class, but no one notices. I may have gotten into every university I applied to, including the top university in the country, but, still, I'm not smart. I didn't win in academic awards at graduation. They even forgot to announce that I was an Ontario Scholar (which requires a 80% average), when I beat the qualifying level by 16%. I tell you, I may think I'm smart, I may have the grades, but it's still not good enough. Close, but no cigar. 

My supposed idiocy is only supported by hobbies. I read young adult romance. As one girl put it in my yearbook, "the novels you read juxtapose your intelligence."Yes, she was calling me kind of smart, in a way, but she was calling YA dumb. I think it was meant as a compliment.

Another hobby I have is collecting celebrity trivia. I've mentioned it before, I'll mention it again: I am boss at the Kevin Bacon game. I mean it, no one can beat me. Most people can't even play me, considering they've never heard of this game, but those who have, watch out. I'm pro. I play with my best friend all the time, and I am one to be beat.

In order to be so boss at such games, it not only takes practice, but it also takes research. Hours on IMDb. Many a lunch hour spent flipping through the new issue of People.

It was hilarious. I used to volunteer in my school library most days at lunch, mostly doing circulation. I loved it. Sometimes, after a long morning of classes, I needed a brain break, so I would grab the latest People and read it while waiting for people to check out books. One day, the librarian saw me reading it, and commented, "that's a nice break." I smiled. But she kept commenting on it. Other library volunteers read Atwood novels or the Economist. But still, I kept reading People. What was wrong with me?

Well, it's like this. My brain loves celebrity gossip. It absorbs it, craves it. It's like the mental equivalent of movie popcorn. Light, buttery, and oh so tasty. Sometimes, I judge myself for this. It is a rather useless hobby. But still, nearly nothing makes me happier than a new film that it'll allow me to connect a bunch of actors or an article about the Emmys.

Let me say it, once and for all. I AM A SMART GIRL. But I also love to read about Michael and Mia getting together. To me, the best part of Harry Potter is when Ron and Hermione kiss in the seventh book. I'll read almost any book, as long as there is romance. And I'll read almost any article, as long as it mentions a celebrity. I am smart, I love romance, and I love celebrities. If you're not okay with that, screw you. I think I might know a school full of smart, stuck up kids or a nosy librarian who you might what to hang out with.

Believe it or not, this post is supposed to be a book review. Somehow it has become a personal protest. Sorry for the tangent. I really do have a book to review. Sometimes I get going on rants. But I'm back on track now. To tell you the book I just finished, Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe:

Now, this is not a book for everyone. You really have to like celebrities. And you have to have at least a marginal interest in Rob Lowe. But if you're anything like me, this is a good book for you. 

I don't need to summarize much, other than to say this is the autobiography of a man who has starred in a wide range of tv shows and movies, including The Outsiders, St. Elmo's Fire, The West Wing, Brothers & Sisters, and most recently, Parks and Recreation. If you are a fan of any of those things, I think you'd enjoy this book. 

It is well written. I mean, it's not Sarah freaking Dessen. But it's solid. Interesting. At times, Lowe can come off as self-obsessed or arrogant, but, on the whole, it's an engaging read. 

He'll tell a story about an early tv show he did as a kid, describing a girl he worked with, and then end the story by saying "oh, by the way, that girl was Janet Jackson." Rob Lowe has worked with some interesting people in his life. Francis Ford Coppala directed him in his first big role. He was an integral part of the Brat Pack. He not only starred with Martin Sheen on the West Wing, but he also used to swim in his backyard, since he went to school with the Sheen boys Emilio and Charlie. He worked with many people before they made it big--Tom Cruise, Dick Wolf, Ron Howard. He hung out with a lot of exciting people--JFK Jr., Bill Clinton, Princess Stephanie of Monaco. This guy has seen a world many of us only read about in tabloids. And it's fascinating. 

I loved Rob Lowe on West Wing. I found him marginally okay on Brothers & Sisters. I like him a lot on Parks and Rec. He was never my favourite part in any of those shows, but I liked him enough. So, I was already invested. Add in my love of any and all things celebrity, and I'm on fire. With the exception of one or two names, I knew everyone he talked about. I learned so much. I had so much fun. 

I've never read a celebrity biography before. For that matter, I've never dabbled much in the biography section. With this book, I took everything with a grain of salt, understanding that he was only describing his side of the story. I think that issue of perspective would be a challenge in any autobiography. 

This book makes me want to explore other celebrity memoirs. They're not deep reads, but they're engrossing in a way I've only ever truly experienced with young adult novels. With YA, I always want to get the end so I can read about the couple getting together. Here, I wanted to keep reading not for the end, but for the journey. That's impressive. This guy doesn't just play a great speech writer on tv. He must be a pretty good writer in real life. Or he must have a pretty great life. Either way, I throughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves celebrities like I do. It won't make you stupid, I promise. In fact, hold the book up proud. You are smart and you can enjoy a good afternoon of celeb gossip. You are just like me. Isn't that great?

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