NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL (memoir) by Carlene Bauer
And here's my take:
I want to be honest with you and tell you that despite the fact that I am not a religious person and to be totally frank with you- I think it's basically a bunch of hooey... I wanted to read this book badly. The description sounds fantastic, doesn't it? But I am nothing if not honest...I was really underwhelmed by the book.
First off, you know right away that Carlene is SMART. Like she's the super smart girl in class that has few friends, is socially awkward, but you just know is going to be doing something requiring brains. And she does. She's incredibly educated and just meant to be writing. So points for her for getting her career right the first time. But with that, she kicks herself in the foot. Which is my way of saying- if you are going to write a book, sometimes you have to dumb it down. Mostly because I was not happy with having to look up words. I'm not joking, I had SUCH a hard time reading this book because of how she structures paragraphs and uses words I have only maybe heard on national spelling bees. Yikes. (Fun secret- I love how she has no problem with admitting her love with Sylvia Plath. Ugh- if you haven't ever read The Bell Jar then you need to hustle to the library. Stunning piece of work. But I really love Sylvia Plath and like Carlene, am always braced for the looks you get when you admit that.)
With all of that out of the way- it's not a must read. I felt like she really didn't tell a story. Sure, she was confused about religion and how to abide by the constraints of how she was raised but still enjoy the college experience without permanently damming herself to Hell or purgatory or whatever. But seriously- figure it out. And stick with it. I don't know what the purpose of this book was because honestly? The back cover description was so deceiving. And I didn't find it hilarious. I didn't crack a smile through the whole thing.
But the parts I did find endearing? Were her relationships with guys. Now, you don't really ever know if she dated these guys. Plenty of guys were into her and she didn't know it and through the book you just want to shake her and say KISS HIM ALREADY but she doesn't. And then doesn't understand that pushing a guy away isn't really an invitation for him to kiss you. Which is true for a lot of young women, so if you are like that then you might relate better to this book than I did.
My thing with memoirs, which I love, is that I like to leave the book feeling like I am walking away with something to think about in my own life, or feel like I had connected with the author through their story. I don't feel that way with this one and that's a bummer because I wanted to really like this book. And I don't think this could be even construed as an attack on religion or Christianity at all- I think it is the normal plight with people who grow up thinking that maybe the things you grew up on are not how you want to live your life....then trying to reconcile that.
So while I didn't enjoy it, it doesn't mean that you won't. If you are a lost 20-something, this may be for you. If you are conflicted with the beliefs you grew up with and trying to make those fit with the lifestyle everyone around you has- this may be for you. If you've read this I would like to hear your take on it.