Published by Atria/Keywords Press on March 10, 2015
Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Comedy
Source: Purchased (I also received an eARC from NetGalley)
The book that more than 12 million YouTube subscribers have been waiting for! Shane Dawson’s memoir features twenty original essays—uncensored yet surprisingly sweet.
From his first vlog back in 2008 to his full-length film directorial debut Not Cool, Shane Dawson has been an open book when it comes to documenting his life. But behind the music video spoofs, TMI love life details, and outrageous commentary on everything the celebrity and Internet world has the nerve to dish out is a guy who grew up in a financially challenged but loving home in Long Beach, California, and who suffered all the teasing and social limitations that arise when you’re a morbidly obese kid with a pretty face, your mom is your best friend, and you can’t get a date to save your life.
In I Hate Myselfie, Shane steps away from his larger-than-life Internet persona and takes us deep into the experiences of an eccentric and introverted kid, who by observing the strange world around him developed a talent that would inspire millions of fans. Intelligent, hilarious, heartbreaking, and raw, I Hate Myselfie is a collection of eighteen personal essays about how messy life can get when you’re growing up and how rewarding it can feel when the clean-up is (pretty much) done.
I’ve been a Shane Dawson viewer for a few years now, and was excited to hear that he was releasing a book. I Hate Myselfie is a unique memoir containing short essays that document events throughout Shane’s childhood. It is a very quick read, and I ended up flying through it on the day I purchased it. Shane was holding a book event at Barnes & Noble Union Square, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet him in person and get a signed copy.
When it comes to rating and reviewing I Hate Myselfie, I’ll admit it’s not an easy task. First and foremost, I’m a biased reviewer because I’ve watched Shane’s videos for so long that I understand his comedy style. The average person picking this book up off the shelf might be offended by the crude language and anything-but-policially correct stories. I decided to base my four star rating on the fact that this book will mainly be read by Shane’s fans, who I imagine will relate to my reading experience.
The first thing I really enjoyed about I Hate Myselfie is the writing style. Shane’s written voice is just like his spoken one, and that made the essays feel extremely genuine. It felt like Shane was writing letters to me, and not like he was writing a book for the public. The essay format was a great choice, as it allowed readers to hear about many different events in Shane’s life, and permitted him to jump around in time without the book feeling choppy. I especially liked the sections of dialogue within each essay. They made the stories flow very easily, and added a personal touch. While this writing style might feel very colloquial to some, it was a logical choice for this genre, and helped make Shane even more accessible to his fans.
I also thought it was great that the book included fan art. Each essay’s title page had an illustration by one of Shane’s viewers that corresponded with that particular essay. Readers even got to know each artist a bit through a short bio on the back of each illustration, and many of those bios included social media information for the artist. While this may be a small part of I Hate Myselfie, it was such a nice touch to include Shane’s audience in the book. I liked the feeling of community these illustrations brought.
One critique I do have of I Hate Myselfie actually has nothing to do with the writing or content of the book itself. I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the book binding. By this I mean that the publisher chose to release the book in paperback that is not the best quality. I purchased the book brand new at Barnes & Noble, and the edges were damaged and the spine was coming apart as I read it (quite carefully) for the first time. In addition, the title and cover pages are very plain, and I was surprised at the lack of design on the book itself. In fact, I Hate Myselfie feels almost more like an unfinished ARC (advanced reader copy) than a finished work. I wish the publisher put more effort into the book’s presentation do to Shane more justice. I know this is somewhat of a petty complaint, but when a paperback book of under 300 pages is $16.00, I expect a good quality product.
Putting that aside, I really did enjoy I Hate Myselfie. I’m not sure that I would recommend the book to those who don’t know who Shane is, but if you are even vaguely interested in learning more about him, or if you enjoy comedic memoirs, I say go ahead and pick up a copy. While I didn’t necessarily learn anything surprising about Shane in this book, I do feel readers get to know him more on a personal level, and get a good peek inside some very emotional times in his life. I would love to read more essays from Shane in the future should he get the opportunity to publish another book.