cover image Wow, No Thank You: Essays

Wow, No Thank You: Essays

Samantha Irby. Vintage, $15.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-56348-8

This overly manic collection from blogger Irby (We Are Never Meeting in Real Life) hints at the author’s talent, but ultimately disappoints. In recounting a period in her life that saw her attain success as an author, endure a frustrating flirtation with Hollywood, and move from Chicago to Kalamazoo, Mich., “where the most popular bar has a mechanical bull,” Irby primarily aims to amuse, but the humor is one-note, leaning too much on double exclamation points, triple question marks, and caps lock, and too little on original observations. She also overemphasizes showbiz references—at one point, she imagines her life as a wacky Hollywood comedy, and at another point, as several seasons of a TV show. Irby can be remarkably candid, as when she admits to having a “running inner monologue recounting every horrible thing I’ve said or done since I can remember first publicly humiliating myself,” one that “never shuts the fuck up or goes away even for a minute.” This emotional honesty is the book’s best feature, but is less appealing than it might have been, due to the hectic tone. Readers will be disappointed by this strained attempt at comedic memoir. (Apr.)