how to grow up book coverReviewed by Rebecca Donatelli

When I read the blurb for How to Grow Up, I immediately got excited for two reasons: one, any piece of writing that can speak to my soul, parallel my past or just make me laugh, is phenomenal in my world. Two, I love a strong-willed woman who can poke fun at herself and admit her flaws while laughing out loud at the rest of the world who still doesn’t get it.

Michelle Tea is known for her candor and for being straightforward and non-filtered. I love this about a person. Her book is designed to be a collection of, essays, if you will, surrounding her past mistakes and calling herself out at every chance she gets. She has been known to be successful in writing but to also have a “troubled” past and she shares that with the world with obvious advice and life lessons that are bound to make anyone laugh…even just a little bit.

This collection can relate to any single person who has messed up, or gone down the beaten path, only to find themselves out of luck and out of time. Due to Tea’s past, she has many different life lessons to share, as I am sure we all do, and although a lot of them were hard to relate to (dating men with coke habits), many hit home hard (dreaming of shopping in NY but, instead, buying a $5 “vintage” shirt from Goodwill). She speaks of being broke and wanting to buy nice things, having big dreams, paying rent by scraping pennies, crappy break-ups and idiot roommates who don’t do the dishes. She starts out in life just like every one of us: unsure and unstable and by the time she meanders and navigates through “growing up,” she figures out how to really be an adult.

All in all, I enjoyed her quirky, no-nonsense, unfiltered writing and although I had read some reviews previously, stating that many were disappointed with her latest creation, I wanted to feel it out firsthand. She’s a hell of a writer, no one can take that from her, and her stories are full of truth and modesty.

While I am sure she was embarrassed at the time of some situations, looking back on it now, they were great learning lessons which any one can relate to in some sense. How else can we make it through life without laughing at ourselves? Luckily, for us, sometimes we find a relatable author who can speak to us through writing. For me, Michelle Tea did that. She reminds me a lot of Laurie Notaro, in which she speaks it as it is. If you love honesty and poking fun at the past, definitely read this one!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Rebecca is passionate and insane, empathetic and aggressive, loud and predictable. She loves reading, writing, shopping and creating. She is what she is and it may not be what the world wants but it is what it is. Love.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.