Book 17: Approval Junkie



"I was weirdly comforted by the fact that my new husband chalked up most of my distasteful behavior to my being possessed by the devil himself. It was as if he saw the best in me, and my best self was haplessly caught in an evil stranglehold that made me do things like show up sullen to the party his network threw to celebrate his show that I wasn't on, as aggressively passive-aggressive as I could appear."

Dates read: January 11-14, 2016

Rating: 6/10

I want people to like me. My friends (obviously), people at work, the people reading this. I'm pretty sure I should be embarrassed by how much it matters to me what people think, but it does matter all the same. The older I get, the more I'm okay with the idea that since some people aren't really my cup of tea, it's fair that I'm not everyone's cup of tea either. But that means that I'm okay with about 2% of people not liking me, maybe 3% as a worst-case scenario. Everyone else, I'm going to go ahead and need your approval.

Which is why I was intrigued enough by the title of this book to put it on my to-read list, even though comedian essay/memoir isn't the end of the reading pool I do more than lightly dip my toes in very often. Faith Salie's Approval Junkie chronicles her lifelong pursuit of other people's regard, from her childhood acting career, to her determination to win her high school's Miss Aphrodite crown, to trying to build a career as an actress in Hollywood, her relationship with her first husband, her divorce, remarriage, and eventual family life with children. Her writing voice is strong, sure, and entertaining, and she doesn't just go for funny (although when she does, her chapter about trying to win over Bill O'Reilly is a highlight). She also hits pathos, describing her difficulties dealing with the death of her mother when she was 26 and her struggle to conceive a child; as well as life advice, in her chapter about how to conduct an interview/genuinely listen to other people.

At the end of the day, I remembered why I don't usually read these kind of books unless they're by people I already love, like Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey. Even with their books, I find myself smirking wryly rather than actually laughing out loud. It's really hard to be laugh out loud funny in print...the only comedy book I can actually remember triggering more than the occasional light chuckle was My Horizontal Life. I'm not super into Chelsea Handler, but that book was hysterical. Salie's book is pretty decent, but not up to the Kaling/Fey level. On the whole it's more funny than not, and it's entertaining if not particularly memorable. I'd recommend this for a slightly older crowd...a lot of its humor deals with divorce, fertility treatments, and childrearing. While it can certainly be appreciated by people who haven't had those experiences (like me), I feel like it would be most enjoyable for people who can relate better. 

Tell me, blog friends...have there been any books by comedians that have actually made you laugh out loud?

**I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review**

Note: Review cross-posted at Cannonball Read

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