There seems to be a trend in celebrity memoirs titling, in which a publishing maven discovered, “If we take something bad, like a ‘mess’, or ‘catastrophe’, but we put the word HAPPY in front of it, then everyone will think — ‘she’s just like us, she’s had her knocks’ but also ‘now she’s HAPPY so it’s all okay!” Hence, Punky Brewster‘s parenting memoir, Happy Chaos, and Jane Lynch‘s memoir, Happy Accidents. Of course I’ve read both of them recently. Since I spend a lot of time reading heavy theology books or depressing novels, I like to lighten the mood sometimes with these pithy celebrity memoirs. Sometimes it’s a score, like Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and sometimes it’s a total fail, like Betty White’s If You Ask Me.
Soleil Moon Frye (AKA Punky)’s Happy Chaos was really just one step up from spending an hour reading a Twitter feed. The most interesting parts were literally the pictures of her with 80’s and early 90’s stars, like Brian Austin Greene and Mr. T. The worst bits were her “parenting tips”, which included such gems as, “Bring wipes everywhere you go!” and “Have Demi Moore as your birthing coach!” Really, she seems like a fine person, very sweet and obviously a loving mother, but writing is not her forte. Obviously, her book was written for people like me who grew up in the 80’s watching too much TV and are now mothers. But that doesn’t mean we enjoy vapid writing. No, we do not. In fact, I really more skimmed this book than read it cover-to-cover — I’m a busy lady, and this book was quickly relegated to bathroom reading status.
Who doesn’t love Jane Lynch? She’s hilarious, and beloved for being an unlikely celebrity. I’ve followed her work since her Christopher Guest movie days, and of course I love Glee as much as the next ex-outcast. And really, her book is not that bad. I may even go so far as to recommend it, especially for her reflections on finding sobriety. She is brutally honest in describing how bitter and self-centered she once was, and how she still works hard on those parts of herself that are needy pits of need. But her book follows the trajectory of all celebrity memoirs — hitting all the salient career points and telling you some juicy tidbits about your favorite movies/tv shows/stars, but never enough that you feel you’ve learned anything you would actually repeat in a conversation. Except for Tim Gunn’s revelation in Gunn’s Golden Rules that he is voluntarily celibate — that one does come up now and again, even if it does require me sheepishly admitting that I read a reality star’s memoir. I guess I have no literary shame anymore!
Since this post is already a celebrity name-dropping fiasco, I might as well give you an update on the Zooey D situation. I went ahead and got bangs, and I shook my fist at Ms. Deschanel the whole time, since they look awesome and I’m pissed that I didn’t do this long ago. I went to church the next day, and did get some Zooey D comments, but the reaction from the teenagers I work with was… well, it was hilarious and humbling. At first, they said they literally didn’t recognize me, which I thought was a little weird, because it’s just hair covering my forehead – the rest of me is the same. Then, they did not tell me it looked good, or that I looked like a certain someone, they said, “You look like an Asian lady!” I was baffled as to how to respond, but gratefully one of them said “That’s racist” so I didn’t have to. Then they got into a debate about whether or not I now look Asian, and if it is indeed racist to say so. Welp, just goes to show, if you’re feeling all “Poor me, everyone thinks I’m a movie star!”, leave it to teenagers to tell you you look like a cashier at Duc Loi.