Jill Kargman * Ballantine Books * September 6, 2016 * 240 Pages
Advanced Reader Copy provided through Amazon Vine.
I knew of Jill Kargman from the Bravo TV show Odd Mom Out, though I’ve never actually watched it. I didn’t have any concrete expectations when I picked up this book, but I figured it would at least be mildly funny.
And it was. I was lightly entertained, though I’d say most of the essays in here are just okay. There were a couple of standouts. I loved the essay “Arie’s Words to Live By” where Kargman lists some of her dad’s best advice. (Honestly, I hope HE writes a memoir someday.) I also enjoyed the essay “Pregnant with a TV Show.” Kargman shows a lot of heart in that one, finally getting a bit more serious and deep. I think I might even check out her previously-published book Momzillas.
But the rest? Yeesh, it gets a little rough. I know other reviewers have complained about Kargman’s trendy, tweenage-ish language choices, but I didn’t mind that so much. What got to me, was the feeling of separateness I had while reading the book. I am just so far removed from Kargman’s lifestyle, experiences, and perspective. She claims to be this down-to-earth and accepting person, but, boy-oh-boy, she really lets certain groups have it. You better not be an ounce overweight or shop at Ann Taylor, because Kargman ain’t got no time for that. The weight stuff, especially, seemed weird to me. She is so fixated on body fat, and so harsh with the people (including herself) she considers overweight. It made me sad for her.
It also seemed odd to me that she spends so much time making fun of rich people without seeming to understand that SHE is really effing wealthy. She mocks people who fly private jets and wear Louboutin’s to pick up their kids from school…but then she talks about her many trips abroad and describes her own school-pick-up clothing preference as dresses with heels. (But they’re not Louboutin’s! See how down-to-earth she is?!)
I mean, I get it. She rolls with a super posh crowd, and she’s poking fun at the people who conspicuously consume more than she does. But she is so much more like them than she is like me, that it’s hard to relate or join in. As far as I’m concerned, she is in the same category of people she’s making fun of. They all have (and seem to spend) excessive, excessive amounts of money. I’m not poor by any stretch, but the wealth she’s talking about is on a whole different level than what I’m used to.
I guess just take it for what it is. Reading this book is like watching Real Housewives; it’s a somewhat enjoyable guilty pleasure that you will immediately forget once you’re done with it.