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Book Review: I Don’t Care About Your Band by Julie Klausner
Posted By Julia Rhodes On March 2, 2010 @ 11:26 am In Biography,Non-Fiction Reviews,Sex | No Comments
Comedienne and writer Julie Klausner’s book has a ridiculously long title. I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I’ve Dated is a compendium of anecdotes, pop culture references, self-deprecating commentary, and girl power. Klausner writes the way she probably does stand-up, colloquially and interactively (the book is interspersed with versions of the “Am I right, ladies?” shout often heard in Comedy Central stand-up routines). As a result readers feel sometimes like they’re sitting across from her over a very long evening of wine and cheese, and at other times like they’re in the front row at a comedy club where Klausner has the mic.
Klausner, a New Yorker who attended Hebrew school until grade 8, revels in her cultural background while also poking fun at herself and the many men who stumble through the pages of the book. There’s possibly-bisexual Ryan, who proposes a threesome; Colin and Jonathan, frontmen of “very important” bands who delight in their own coolness; Ben, who, by the way, is dating someone else a little; Alex, whom she met online, flew from Oklahoma to NYC, and who ends up being a head case. Then there’s Rob, who made her wait beside the dumpster in case anyone found out about their on-the-sly hookups, and Patrick, who made her realize she had a crush on Sweeney Todd. There’s Tom, who caused the revelation that as a single person, “when you talk to a person with a family about how great your professional life is, you’re just accenting the divide…you’re not making them even a tiny bit jealous.” There’s the guy who gave her herpes and one who had bedbugs, and many who just have no sense of decorating style. Klausner drily relates how she fooled around in high school with acne-ridden teenagers, started (and ended) multiple relationships on MySpace, and slept with men on the first date even though she didn’t really like them that well.
The book is a (sometimes) chronological account of Klausner’s storied dating history, beginning with preteen sexual awakenings that involve Penthouse magazine, slumber parties, and surreptitious calls to phone sex lines. It follows the author through her twenties and into her early thirties as she dates, falls in love, and has her heart broken by jerks, psychos, and every kind of guy referenced in the title. Luckily for readers, Klausner has no qualms with relating what might be the most embarrassing stories from her past. She also isn’t afraid to completely rip herself and her paramours a new one, though she probably changed names to protect the (not so) innocent. One has to wonder how the many men referenced in the book feel about themselves, and if in her own self-examination, she causes them to look closer at themselves (given some of these characters it’s unlikely).
The book includes the innate and wholly modern awkwardness of translating online dating to the real, live thing you see in the eHarmony commercials (only of course it rarely works out that way). It touches on the hipster paradise of Williamsburg and the types of people who think friendship and courtship mean being able to banter witty factoids about indie bands and old TV. Throughout these horror stories, though, Klausner takes a magnifying glass to her past and finds a way to laugh about it all. She’s not angry, but, she opines, “Your twenties are the worst part of your life that you don’t actually know at the time is terrible.” Her wit and self-deprecation are contagious, and anyone who’s dated in the last ten years will find themselves somewhere in this book (hopefully for the better). Between heartbreaks and giggle-fests with her best friend Nate, Klausner mentions her beloved grandmother’s death and the difficulty she has finding reliable female friends; these tidbits give the author a vulnerability without which the book could become grating. In the conclusion, Klausner admits she’s now in a happy relationship, but the book isn’t about how hard life is for single women or how much better it is when you land a man. Instead it’s a hilarious and charming series of lessons she doesn’t regret, and through her honesty, readers will find solace with their own blunders.
I Don’t Care About Your Band is a title that’ll grab the eye of anyone who’s ever been in the presence of someone who thinks his godawful garage band is the best thing since American Apparel hoodies. This includes anyone who’s ever lived in a college town or gone to basement rock shows to get sweated upon and Pabst-splashed for the sake of something cool to do. Klausner knows her audience (who are between 25 and 40, female, and media-savvy) and plays to both her strengths and weaknesses. If the book were a movie, it would be rated R; the author’s got a dirty mouth (or pen, if you prefer) and hormones out the wazoo, and this book is not your mom’s dating guide. But for modern women it’s a refreshing and smart reassurance that they’re not alone in their woes. It’s important to note that, despite Klausner’s occasional condescension and sometimes outright disdain for men, this book isn’t about hating them, nor is it a self-pitying romp in the vein of the romantic comedies defacing the silver screen at the moment. It’s a smart and savvy memoir from a blunt, confident woman with whom you’d probably like to have a drink.
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