Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pursue failure, and you will trip over success along the way

I was looking for a book that fit my resolution goals* and, what do you know, Aisha Tyler's Self-Inflicted Wounds goes on sale. How convenient!

Self-Inflicted Wounds is pretty standard comic memoir fare, which I just realized I've read at least 3 of, which officially counts as a trend and I'm going to have to come up with a new Goodreads tag. ANYWAY, it deals with Tyler growing up in San Fran with hippie parents and wacky shenanigans such as when she set the kitchen on fire, because young children really shouldn't be deep frying things. She talks about being a nerd and super awkward, what finally led her to standup and what it takes to do comedy. She does not talk about Archer which is a pity because I heart Lana.
She focuses on the failures, the times she fucked up and when she and she alone was responsible. She gives some good advice along the way, such as
[The direct] approach is universal, and helpful any time you ever blow it in a major way -- workplace faux pax, ethnically insensitive joke, slamming into your boss's car in the parking lot, accidentally touching your mother-in-law's breast at Thanksgiving. You can slink away, tail between your legs like a dog who just urinated in the baby's bassinet, and die alone in a corner, or you can straighten up, look them dead in the face, and say, "I did this. I'm not proud of it, but I'm owning it, and I am going to look directly into your eyes and apologize, while holding your gaze so long and with such defiant pride that you will start to wonder if perhaps it is you who has offended me in some way. And then I will leave here and humiliate myself terribly in front of others, because that is just what I do."
Tyler is funny, and while I wasn't crazy about about a lot of the early chapters ending with what seemed like little lessons, I did like her tone and the way she told stories (since each chapter can sort of be a stand-alone story).

When I first finished reading this I gave it three stars. That was mostly due to when I first started the book I was in sort of a bad mood (about I-don't-even-know-what) but I was being especially critical of the book, it was better than three stars. But first impressions stick with you so I kept thinking "I liked it but it was mostly OK." Until I was talking to some people at work about the book and her stuff in general and realized that no, I enjoyed this far more than I was giving it credit for.

It's not a life changing book but it was a fun one and I can't help but read it in Lana's voice, so that was fun.

GIF rating:
*Author is not white, author is not from the US, (bonus points if book is a translation), book was published sometime before the 2000s

Title quote from page 16, location 417

Tyler, Aisha. Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation. HaperCollins, 2013. Kindle