I Know What I’m Like. I check my tweets, various emails, blog stats and facebook updates several times a
minute day. I’m not addicted to the Internet, I can put it down for a day and not feel like I’ve lost a limb, but I must be damn near close.
Which made this hilarious debut from singer and memoirist Alina Simone quite uncomfortable reading. I’ve been that woman refreshing her Gmail over and over waiting for someone to respond, I’ve met people through the late noughties equivalent of craigslist and I’ve got my regular trail of blogs and zines I read daily, for no reason other than I can’t imagine a world in which I wouldn’t.
Anna, the heroine of the tale, is 37, unemployed, living in New York on her rapidly dwindling inheritance, looking for something to do, or more to the point someone to be. Her best friend and life coach Leslie despairs for her, her flatmate won’t take her to parties any more as she kills the mood. She spends most of her time in front of her laptop, reading the Spam, and is sick of it.
When she randomly discovered the controversial work of contemporary film maker Paul Gilman, she decides she has found her calling, blows the rest of her wad on a fancy camera, and applies for work with enigmatic (read dickhead) Taj, who seems to have a personal vendetta against Gilman and everything he stands for.
As Anna discovers the weird underground world of film, and gets deeply involved with Taj and his projects, she feels she has found her place in the world. However, she clearly hasn’t, and her fall from grace is a painful but necessary one.
This book is probably the most current thing I’ve ever read, none of it will make sense in a couple of years time and you could measure your awareness of ‘cool’ and ‘now’ by how much you understand already and how much you have to Google. Part Nathan Barley, part Charlotte Roche, Anna isn’t a hipster, she has just woken up one day to find herself surrounded by hipsters, a sentiment I also occasionally share. There were parts of this book I empathized massively with Anna’s situation, ten years older than me and worryingly screwed-if you want to feel a bit better about yourself then you should read this book.
Dreadful cover aside this is the sort of book that should do well, it would be a good holiday read, although it is a bit rude and strange in places so maybe not lend to your Gran. Laugh out loud funny, even if it is knowing laughter, if you’re looking for a ‘new voice’ to discover and you also spend too much time on the Web, then this is the book for you.