Y’all – I love Samantha Irby. I read we are never meeting in real life last year, my first of her collections, and it was just…so good! Wonderfully hilarious with that tempering mix of some more serious (though still delivered with Irby’s perfect comedic tone) topics. But yea, it was great. So I knew I’d be reading more from her as soon as as possible and a six hour drive for work was the perfect moment to dive into this one. I am a huge fan of author narrated memoirs/essays on long solo car trips – it makes me feel like someone is there with me, keeping me company. Plus, the humor in this collection was spot on, keeping me awake and invested!
This is Irby’s most recent publication, so she’s a little older now, around 40 at the time of the writing (as per her essays), and the topics she speaks to are accordingly more “mature.” And by mature, I definitely mean the types of things that happen and matter and you have to deal with as you get to that middle age, not necessarily (in most cases) that her handling of said situations was more mature. Which is good, because that combination of “adult” situations with “non-adult” responses is, in fact, incredibly relatable and very much a signature trait (which I feel moderately comfortable saying, now that I’ve read a second of her collections).
In these essays, Irby covers topics from home repairs (where/how do people learn that?) to making friends as an adult (it’s basically impossible) to step-parenting (not a thing I’ve experienced, but as a person, like herself, who doesn’t want to have kids, her reactions seem reasonable and understandable) to being totally connected to her phone in a way she won’t apologize for (yup, I feel that). There was also a smattering of other things, just some generally funny essays about ridiculous things that are better than sex or worth calling 911 for, some of the wierdest things she’s done as a result of financial issues (as in, lack of them), the story of how she was basically dragged into being published for the first (and second) time, relationship insight/advice (ish), and some actually really interesting essays about being optioned for tv and staff-writing for a short-run tv series. This collection felt a little all over, but Irby’s writing style and humor are so approachable and comical that I didn’t really mind the lack of greater cohesion or arc. I honestly was all-in for the high level entertainment value…and was not disappointed on that front.
If I’m honest, I think I liked wow, no thank you ever more than we are never meeting in real life. Maybe it’s because it spoke deeply to my getting-older soul. Maybe it’s because I listened to this one (and Irby’s narration is fucking spectacular) instead of traditional reading a physical copy. Maybe Irby is just aging into/with her writing like a fine wine. Regardless, this was laugh out loud funny (for real), incredibly relatable, chock full of lovely casual bisexual and disability rep, and basically everything I was looking forward to it being.