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One of Vanity Fair's Great Quarantine Reads: Step into Jenny Slate's wild imagination in this "magical" (Mindy Kaling), "delicious" (Amy Sedaris), and "poignant" (John Mulaney) New York Times bestseller about love, heartbreak, and being alive -- "this book is something new and wonderful" (George Saunders).
You may "know" Jenny Slate from her Netflix special, Stage Fright, as the creator of Marcel the Shell, or as the star of "Obvious Child." But you don't really know Jenny Slate until you get bonked on the head by her absolutely singular writing style. To see the world through Jenny's eyes is to see it as though for the first time, shimmering with strangeness and possibility.
As she will remind you, we live on an ancient ball that rotates around a bigger ball made up of lights and gasses that are science gasses, not farts (don't be immature). Heartbreak, confusion, and misogyny stalk this blue-green sphere, yes, but it is also a place of wild delight and unconstrained vitality, a place where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time. In her dazzling, impossible-to-categorize debut, Jenny channels the pain and beauty of life in writing so fresh, so new, and so burstingly alive, we catch her vision like a fever and bring it back out into the bright day with us, where everything has changed.
In an impossible-to-categorize adult debut, actor and comedian Slate (Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, coauthor) meditates on topics profound and ephemeral with wonder and stark honesty. The unaffectedly whimsical, direct tone is established quickly, with the opening piece's assertion that "I am actually a homemade Parisian Croissant," followed by the dictate, "Pair me with jam. Treasure me for my layers and layers of fragility and richness." Something of a personal narrative does emerge; she describes her childhood in hilarious pieces such as "Fast Bad Baby," about the troubles she inflicted on her mother by being "so rowdy and speedy." She ruminates on growing up in a haunted house in Massachusetts, and on leaving it knowing the ghost of her former self would always live there. She admits to debilitating self-doubt (and explains how she moved past it) and celebrates female friendships and self-care. The most moving piece, "I Died: Bronze Tree," the only work of (overt) fiction, unfolds from the perspective of a recently deceased old woman, whose death follows shortly after her husband's. Here, and elsewhere, Slate offers an intimate window into not only her mind, but her heart. The result is a dazzling, sensory gift for poetry lovers and fans of Slate's distinctly odd, but deeply charming humor.