Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Center of the Universe (Yep, That Would Be Me) by Anita Liberty

Welcome to the story of my life. Well, at least the story of my junior and senior years of high school. It's a profound, touching, and hilarious (if I do say so myself) tale told through cunning poems, revelatory diary entries, perspicacious (look it up) word definitions, shrewd bits of advice, and off-the-cuff (but brilliant) insights.

You'll probably relate to a lot of it. Especially the parts about hating my parents, never feeling cool enough, failing my first attempt at the SATs, having an incredibly romantic (but one-sided) relationship with the coolest guy in school, and getting hexed by my ex-best friend who became a Wiccan.

And if you can't relate? Well, step to the back of that humongous line. You'll probably be right behind my family. If you're lucky, my mom'll bring snacks.


Before anyone asks, the title does absolutely NO justice to how obnoxious Anita is. This is one of those journals that I feel is truly genuine, where the heroine (therefore author) isn’t holding back anything. The girl doesn’t give a shit about what the rest of the world thinks and in turn the narrative is hilarious and filled with bitter truths and snarky commentary.

There’s really not much to be said:

The book goes by really fast. The epistolary format includes Anita’s poetry, advice, SAT words (and her use of them in a sentence), a table denoting all of her parents’ misdeeds, and her regular journal entries.

It’s by far not a perfect novel. Since Anita only writes when she wants to and there are no date headers, sometimes it’s been months from one entry to another and you only figure that out midway though, which isn’t so good for your cognitive timeline. Since she’s so self-centered, almost none of the other characters get much depth or development. She’s so angry at everyone and everything that if you’re not over-the-top wound-up tight, you can have difficulty understanding her anger sometimes.

However, her journey’s still hilarious. This is one of those books I think are perfect in their imperfection because I employ the “look the other way” policy. What I especially loved was her depiction of high school and how ridiculous and not self-aware her classmates were, and how she wondered if she was the only one who could see how ridiculous it all was.

And OMG, this thing is totally quotable. If someone had told me that sooner I would’ve got it way before. Seriously, I’ll prove it. You leave a comment with a random page number (1-292) and I’ll pull a quote for you. Try me.

Overall, it’s not anything you won’t find in Georgia Nicolson or Jessica Darling or anything, but it’s fun because it’s a single (simpler) book. Short- / long-term thing. B

Thanks to Carol for the book!

Simon Pulse | 292 pages | July 1st, 2008 | Author Site | GoodReads | Amazon

13 comments:

Amee said...

Sounds good. I'll wait awhile to read it though. I've had enough of Jessica Darling-esque I hate the world/it's lame stuff. ;)

stephanie said...

omg, when i saw the title: center of the universe (yep, that would be me), I thought the words in the parantheses was talking about you. xD I was like uhhhhhhmmmm...ok?

lol
stephanie

Carol(ina) said...

YAY! Glad you liked the book and it is very hilarious. :)

Khy said...

I loved this one. Sososososo funny.

Alea said...

Page 48.

I was attracted to the style of this book, that's why I bought it. Looks fun!

Mrs. Magoo said...

I've wanted to read this for a while!
Page 13

Bookworm said...

Looks cute!

Page 88

jocelyn said...

Sounds like fun! I think I have it around here somewhere....page 125?

Me said...

Page 18! :D

Steph said...

Heey y'all, thanks for stopping by :) Here are the pages you asked for:

48: (it's a poem) Our love was as steady
as the ash on your ever-lit Gauloise cigarette.
Never tapped.
Growing longer and longer.

Carelessly,
suddenly,
you moved
and it was gone.

13: My parents took the one room that is an actual room. [...] And I have a platform in the MIDDLE of the whole space. A platform!! It's like I'm on a fucking stage. No, I'm sorry, it's not like I'm on a fucking stage. I am on a fucking stage.

[...]

So here I am. Stuck on my platform stage. Living my teenage life for everyone to see. On second thought maybe I can make this work for me.

I can set up a microphone.

88: If I were a chocolate bunny
you'd bite my head off first
and then gnaw slowly
and clumsily at the rest of my body
until I was an unrecognizable
dark brown mass in your fridge.

Well, I'm not a chocolate bunny,
damnit!
I am a solid woman.
And I'm not letting you anywhere
near my head,
or my heart,
or my sense of self

125: Okay. You're not an idiot, so I don't know why I have to spell this out for you.

If a guy you're dating implies that he wants more of a present than the actual present you've just presented him with, he's probably talking about SEX.

Again, I really don't know why I have to constantly explain these things to you. It's so obvious.

18: We have a mouse. [...] I hear it in the middle of the night. It freaks me out, but I'm conflicted. My parents won't let me and Hope have any pets, so this is the closest I think I'll get.

-

Any more takers?

Alea said...

OMG! This book is hilarious! Especially the part about the stage and the mouse!

Anonymous said...

Who hasn't thought they were the center of the universe. This is my first time hearing about Anita Liberty. Her name at her website is the biggest writing I've EVER seen. Love the pages. Totally adding this to my wish list too. I do have a birthdaycoming up next month!

Anita Liberty said...

A "B?" You gave me a "B?" You try to write a book. It's freakin' hard. Anyway, maybe a "B" isn't so bad. It's better than what I got in most of my classes in college.

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