30 Before 30: How I Made a Mess of My 20s, and You Can Too

Marina Shifrin. Wednesday, $16.99 ISBN 978-1-250-12971-0
Shifrin, a standup comedian and TV writer, debuts with a ribald and witty collection of essays. Each piece is devoted to a specific wish made and fulfilled over the course of her 20s, including “Fall in Love (for Real)” and “Buy Real Furniture.” Shifrin’s intention, she writes, is not to boast, but to encourage readers to “dominate [their] twenties too.” She proves an affable narrator, combining humor with self-effacement. In the opening essay, “Go to a Nude Beach,” she documents how she overcame discomfort with her body, declaring, “Maintaining and projecting a body that’s considered to be a ‘wonderland’ is an unreasonable standard and also a waste of time.” Through the hangovers and failed romances over the rest of the book, she remains perceptive and charming. As the daughter of Russian immigrants, she continually reflects on her luck in being born “a few lost documents away from brutal Soviet oppression—or at least that’s what my parents tell me.” Hand-drawn illustrations, including a “Dating Gesture Timeline” and a graph measuring “Emotional Needs Vs. Dog Size,” appear throughout. In Shifrin’s journey to confidence and success, she provides a genuinely inspirational example without ever taking herself too seriously. Agent: Anthony Mattero, Foundry + Media. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2018
Release date: 07/24/2018
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