Alright, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I procrastinated on this blog post because I really didn’t do a lot of intellectually enriching reading this week. I blame Netflix and the friends who recommended Sons of Anarchy to me. I’m a little bit preoccupied with the series and have spent a shameless amount of time binge-watching this intriguing show about a NorCal biker gang which, between you and me, I’m about 20% ashamed about and 80% too involved in the show to worry about how people are judging me. Between that and getting acquainted with a new work schedule, I didn’t finish the book I originally intended to read this week – Alice Munro’s “The Love of a Good Woman.” Munro just won the Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 2013, and I try to take it upon myself to at least try to familiarize myself with modern reputable authors.
But I have to say, I’m about a hundred pages into this short story collection and it hasn’t dazzled me yet. In fact, the first story in the collection was extremely boring. But since I’m not done with it yet, I will focus my energies on the book I did finish this week: Chelsea Fagan’s “I’m Only Here for the Free WiFi: A Complete Guide to Reluctant Adulthood.”
My best friend gave the book to me for Christmas in light of my recent graduate status and being in a transitional period in my life, and I have to say it was a really enjoyable read. If it was a food, it would have been the equivalent of chocolate covered almonds (or cherries, or raisins, or whatever kind of food you like to eat covered in chocolate.) It wasn’t an extremely intellectual read, nor was it extremely nourishing or healthy, but it was tidbits of insight wrapped in delicious-ness.
Fagan has a great voice that I found refreshingly unpretentious, reflective, and overall aware of the realities of our times. She is a writer and editor for Thought Catalog, a blog that generally directs its writing towards the twenty-something crowd, and this book is definitely directed towards the same general audience.
Fagan takes us chapter by chapter through the topics that must be discussed in order to constitute adulthood. These include, getting up in the morning at a decent hour like most functional adults, getting a job, finding a hobby, keeping a budget, and making friends (because honestly, when is the last time you made a friend that wasn’t someone who lived near you, went to school with you, or worked with you? I would have to say, probably never.)
I really enjoyed Fagan’s sense of humor and realistic take on things. Her chapter on Hobbies is subtitled “Or, How to Find Things to Do That Don’t Depend Entirely on Drinking.” (Wait, so real, non-drinking hobbies are an actual thing? You mean people learn languages and join book clubs for fun? Apparently so.) In her chapter on “Going Out” she covers the many trials and tribulations of partying in your twenties. From not being financially sound enough to afford twelve dollar drinks more than once a week (ain’t that the truth) to feeling a little too old for a house party, a little too classy for a dive bar, and a little too young and poor for a fancy lounge, I felt like Fagan really understood how difficult it can be to just have a good time. Which I realize is very much a #firstworldproblem, but I felt Fagan recognized what could be considered “petty” issues which out making her reader feel petty about having to deal with them.
The final chapter just about sums the whole book up to a few main points: be responsible for yourself, put into the world what you would like to get out of it, and be forgiving towards yourself because you will make mistakes. I generally found Fagan’s advice to be sound, humorous and insightful and will probably end up passing the book along to my younger sisters/cousins when they get to that crossroads in their life and find themselves wondering what the hell it means to really be an adult.
It was a fun read. Now I just have to try and get through Munro’s short story collection. If it continues to be as boring as the first hundred pages, I may switch books. Maybe I’ll just give up on reading this week altogether and try to convince you all to start watching Sons of Anarchy. Who knows.
Overall score: 7. Read it when you want a break from all the authors that take themselves a little too seriously.
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being “don’t waste your time reading this” and 10 being “you must read this at some point in your life.”)