Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Everything is Wrong With Me, by Jason Mulgrew

Note- full title of the book is Everything is Wrong With Me: A Memoir of an American Childhood Gone, Well, Wrong

Jason Mulgrew's special Philly blend of snark grew from his blog, and eventually developed into this memoir of growing up in Philly in the 80's and 90's. It speaks to me because, well, I am the same age, I live in Pennsylvania, and I am a voracious blogger. So, for those aspects alone, I was bound to love this book.

I actually found this book to be much tamer than I expected. When the jacket warns that people who grow up like this tend to be agoraphobic or serial killers, I think one expects something a little more sensational. Not that this is a puff piece, I mean, his childhood included a broken home (his words, not mine), a family affinity for the drink (they are Irish, not alcoholics), and a genetic predisposition for illegal activities (running numbers, selling illegal fireworks). But, I mean, this is Philly we are talking about, so I guess I just sort of expected a lot of this. Had he grown up in Santa Monica then maybe this blue collar-ness would be a bit more shocking.

What I instead found it to be was heartfelt and honest. With a lot of swear words and references to masturbation sprinkled in. But hey, that is what growing up is for many many boys. As the youngest child, with no close neighbors, little boys were a mystery to me. I grew up in a rural area, where we did not have a neighborhood of sorts, so Jason's tales of boyishness were actually pretty charming. Mind you, I would never want my children emulating him, but it was pretty entertaining to read. My favorite part of the book was when he talked about his family's history of participating in the Mummers Day Parade. It was told with such pride. Actually, the whole book has a bit of an air of pride to it. Pride of family, pride of being a Second Streeter, pride of being from Philly, pride of being a boy.

If you like snark, and let's face it, who secretly doesn't, and if you have ever almost choked on your Diet Pepsi because you were laughing so hard over an episode of It's Almost Sunny in Philadelphia, then I guarantee, you will love this book.

This book is from my personal library.