I don’t even know where to begin…
Nora McInerny‘s upcoming book (yay ARCs!) Bad Vibes Only (And Other Things I Bring to the Table) was. So. Good!
(ohp, also, here’s a link to my vlog!)
Thanks to The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop, I was given a sneak peek at BVO, which is set to come out October 2022. It’s entertaining, it’s heartwarming, it’s thought provoking. It wasn’t anything that I expected but I’m so so glad I read it!
McInerny expertly blends observational comedy with personal anecdotes and reflection. While tackling topics ranging from parenthood to living in the moment, she has a fresh, witty take that makes her essays simply phenomenal.
It kind of reminded me of the collection I read a few months ago, Shifting Forward. But where Knowles observations are short, thoughtful, and make you grin, McInerny’s winding analog takes the reader on her train of thought and might make you sniffle or even guffaw.
That said, it’s still a quick read–it almost feels as though you’re catching up with a friend over coffee. You sit there and swap stories of your latest struggle with aging, or your most recent panic over whether or not you’re screwing up your kid.
I loved the casual, storytelling vibe: how McInerny weaves in stories from her own life to make a point, or to call out something. For example, she talks about the anxiety around school reunions and how we present themselves; or she pokes fun at the competitive parents (spoiler alert: even if you’re “not competitive,” you’re still going up against everyone else). Even as she’s talking about something as banal as spending time on your screen versus doing something substantial, there’s something about the way that she writes that makes the “lesson” palatable. It’s inviting. It’s as though she’s saying, “Hey, I get it, life’s hard and sometimes we aren’t mindful when we should be.”
It’s almost as though she’s giving readers permission to be gentle with themselves, but in the least Instagram-It-Girl way possible. By being vulnerable and sharing some of her flaws, McInerny gives voice many of the concerns we’re (as a broad society) reluctant to confront.
I especially enjoyed the last chapter–I loved her personal anecdotes throughout the entire book, I felt like the last chapter was the most secret-self-help-like, which was a pleasant surprise–when she talks about “being best.” This is a conversation my friends and I often broach, how toxic perfectionism is exhausting. McInerny completely, and succinctly, our frustrations. She says what we all know, that we are capable of X, Y, and that sometimes Z is just not going to happen. But she does it in such a fun, refreshing, personal way. This was the chapter that ultimately and fully challenged the “good vibes only,” “try your best and it will all work out” mentality. This was the chapter that really packed the final punch of “there really is more to life than what we’ve conditioned ourselves to think.”
I loved it. I definitely recommend and I think it can/will appeal to a lot of readers. Thank you again to The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop!
Next week I’m teaming up with another local bookshop–Inkberry! I’ll be taking a look at Black Earth by Jens Muhling.