I cannot stand Elizabeth Wurtzel’s writing. No, let me amend that. I can’t stand her, either. If given the chance, I’d probably smack her silly. Why? Because she took the notoriety and success that was handed to her on a plate with her first, wildly successful book, Prozac Nation, and threw it out the window. Then she slapped the givers of that fame (her original readers) in the face with a series of increasingly narcissistic, pathetic epistles designed to evoke pity and engender an emotional response to poor Elizabeth. Now she’s at it again with Radical Sanity: Commonsense Advice for Uncommon Women.
I haven’t read the book.
I don’t want to read the book.
How’s that for a book review?
Prozac Nation? Decent. And if the reviewers on Amazon are to be believed, fairly credible as a memoir of depression. Bitch? Stretching it a bit, but ok, sophomore slump. Plus since when should a book about “praising difficult women throughout history” necessarily feature its half-clothed author on the cover? More, Now, Again? Would somebody please revoke her right to breathe? The Cahner’s review on Amazon says it all about that travesty of a book:
Not only does Wurtzel tread on well-covered terrain about getting clean, she manages to add little or no insight either to her own habit or to the landscape of addiction in general. She’s never figured out how to be a grown-up and do the little things like scrubbing a tub, she writes, “and remembering to eat and shampoo my hair. It’s the basics: I can write a whole book, but I cannot handle the basics.” Yet she fills this work with nothing but mere basics, like which cereals she eats, how she feels about television and how tough she finds life on a book tour. Even in rehab, that reliable bastion of craziness, the scenes are ordinary, washed out by Wurtzel’s seeming lack of emotion…
And what do other readers / those who suffered through reading this drivel think? Amazon reviewer Eric Krupin says:
To describe her as “narcissistic” would be hopelessly inadequate. Enraptured self-involvement on this scale approaches the sociopathic. It would be one thing if the self being celebrated were a writer as insightful and masterly as, say, Colette. But when the best you can muster is urban-zingy wisecracks, not infrequently plagiarized from rock lyrics (note to Wurtzel: if you’re going to rip off a Paul Westerberg lyric – i.e. “waitress in the sky” – it’s not very smart to epigraph your chapter with another Paul Westerberg lyric), the result is pretty pathetic.
And you want to take advice from this girl? Commonsense or otherwise? The girl has no sense at all. Really. As a general rule, the only advice I’d rely on from Elizabeth Wurtzel is how to scam prescription Ritalin, a topic she covered exhaustively in More, Now, Again.
Radical Sanity: Commonsense Advice for Uncommon Women probably only saw the light of day to fulfill the publishing contract Wurtzel spent most of More, Now, Again blatantly neglecting. At least she’s not on the cover this time. What? No more working the good looks to sell copies, Elizabeth?
If you want edgy advice from women with a clue, here’s what you want to read:
Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World As a Smartmouth Goddess by Susan Jane Gilman, or Things You Need To Be Told by the Etiquette Grrls (Lesley Carlin and Honore McDonough Ervin). Both these books address the 20/30-something female experience with a hell of a lot more sassy humor and verve than anything Wurtzel can dish out. I realize that Wurtzel’s other books did not purport to be advice manuals, and therefore can’t really be compared to my suggested reading. But I find the entire concept of someone who can’t even control her own life purporting to offer advice on how other women should live theirs not only absurd, but obscene.