Some of the issues Irby writes about are touching. As someone with a chronic illness, I completely commiserate with her endless battle with Crohn’s Disease. Nothing about that sounds pleasant and she lays out the problems in great TMI-style detail. I also found the sections about caring for her dying mother very touching. That’s a lot for a teenager to have to deal with alone.
A few of the topics are also fascinating to me. Her rant about living with female roommates is hilarious, and I was shaking my head when she laid out all the reasons why the perfect relationship would be with someone who lived in his own apartment in the same building. As someone who loves his privacy and alone-time, I totally get that.
But, and you saw this but coming for a while, I don’t find her humor… well… funny. She’s trying way too hard to be edgy and shocking. She has two refrains going that run through virtually every essay. One is the graphic physical detail regarding her dietary challenges and her sexual encounters. A little TMI is funny. This much TMI is tedious. The second refrain is that she’s an arrested adolescent (in her own words). A 30-something who spends a lot of time bemoaning proudly that she’s incapable of being an adult isn’t charming, or edgy, or funny. It’s kind of sad and pathetic.
Don’t spend 250 pages whining about how fucked up your life is when you’re the primary cause of the fucked-up-ness. I like some self-deprecating humor, but as with everything else, Irby takes it so far that it’s just cringeworthy.
I’m glad I read it to know what the buzz is about, but I expected a lot more. This grew out of a blog, I understand. It feels like it, but it never rises above the level of throw-away pieces.