Monday, August 01, 2016

Ingrown branches

Every so often, I'll make some pronouncement about how, from that point on, I'll start only reading books that put me into different situations and different experiences. (As in, not that of Jewish women from New York who at least dipped a toe into humanities grad school.) Usually doing so is a way of guaranteeing that the used paperback I picked up on a whim for $2 somewhere, knowing little about it, will turn out to be the semi-autobiographical recollections of a woman with my exact life experience. There are, of course, demographic reasons for this (New York sells, or once did; graduates of literature programs are drawn to writing), but that's not the point of this post.

The point is that I've just now outdone myself in non-branched-out reading. And it was, in this case, kind of intentional. I'd heard interviews with Jessi Klein, whose excellent book of humor essays, You'll Grow Out Of It, was the culprit, and knew enough to realize that this was going to be one of those books that I could relate to a lot. See the last paragraph of this article I wrote, about straight female desire? Imagine a much-funnier (and less apologetically handwringing towards potentially offended populations) version of this, and that's the "tom man" concept. In this era where all female beautification is presented in 'I do it for me' terms, I knew there'd be something deeply relatable about a woman's experiences being attracted to men, but not being naturally drawn to certain aspects of conventional femininity, and thus adopting whichever primping rituals strategically (if subconsciously), to increase romantic prospects.

I knew she's a Jewish woman from New York. I knew that this was not going to be Knausgaard Volume Who Knows or Americanah. I knew what I was getting into.

What I hadn't realized was that Klein went to Stuyvesant. We went to the same high school.


Anonymous said...

Go Stuyvesant! This is kaleberg. I went to to the Sty back before it started admitting cro magnons.

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