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Here she goes, here she goes again

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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.

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About Shannon Okey

  • elizabennett

    Um….were you not aware that this is a reprint? Circa 2004ish?

  • DedicatedReader

    Lizzie Wurtzel is so full of shit when she brags about being clean. “Now, More, Again” happened to be a great book about her recovery, but to keep reading these articles that mention how much wine she drinks, she apparently doesn’t know that it’s a mind-altering substance.

  • Daniel

    I have read her book because I was given it for a birthday several years ago (an ambarisingly il choice by an aunt.) It was probarly the worst thing I’ve ever read, it was childish and self obsessed. It didn’t read like it had been wrote by a harvard graduate but was more like a myspace blog of a 14 year old. Yes depression is a terrible thing but prozac nation isn’t about the disease rather Wurtzel crying for attention. Also I’ll add to your criticism that i find her highly sexist, when the few times she isn’t saying “My life’s so hard” She’s saying “Womans live’s are so hard.”

  • Reetika

    give me a break.you did not even read her book(quite unprofessional may i add) and yet you muster the nerve to dismiss her thoughts as a whole bunch of garbage?grow up lady, ure a little too old to scrawl “fuck yous” on high school bathroom walls-which in my perspective, is the equivalent of the so-called review you’ve puked out here.

    “I can’t stand her, either. If given the chance, I’d probably smack her silly.”

    my thoughts exactly.on a overly judgmental,prude and snotty journalist who just cant seem to shake off the PMS that this page seems to be the product off.

  • na

    elizabth wurtzel is an amazing writer and i really enjoyed “prozac nation” and “more, now, and again”. if you could not understand her and where she is comming from, you probably do not understand anything about depression either, which is what her novels are about in the first place. she wrote a book about her personal life and shared it with world. if you don’t like it that’s fine but it is HER story.

  • Kim

    How can anyone in their right mind not see these books as sheer genius?Wurtzel is an amazing author who captures the spirit of so many girls and women. The only way I can see that someone may be opposed to her and her style is that they have grown up in pretty little houses with pretty little fences and have absolutely zero comprehension for what it is to feel dark on the sunniest of days.
    Shut up.

  • Jake Bowman

    Anyone who doesn’t understand Wurtzel’s books just doesn’t understand depression or rock and roll.

  • Mana

    I would just like to state for the record that I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Wurtzel, and her writing. However, this does not mean that I agree with all her beliefs, but as said boldly and perfectly in Matrix Reloaded, your beliefs should not require other people to believe in them. Obviously this raging (and dare I say envious?) “critic” has a problem digesting women who speak their mind loud, clear and without hesitation.(Maybe because she longs to be one herself but can’t exactly stomach it?) I am not going to waste my time sitting here writing a novel on why Elizabeth is an incredible writer, and very intellegent and well respected woman, because you can just take a look at the best seller list for that validation. I will end this on the following note: I think Wurtzel and her fans get the last laugh while reading your review, because her whole purpose (if you are smart enough to understand subtext, or to cliche it up, read between the lines) you would understand that a main part of her objective is to get a rise out of you, the reader. Whether the rise be from love or hate, both are cousins of passion, and I think that speaks for itself.

  • Eric Krupin

    A postscript to my Amazon review of “More, Now, Again”: La Wurtzel came to town a few weeks ago for a reading tour – a fact that came to my attention via a small poster stapled to the bulletin board outside the local hip coffee joint. Poignantly, the author photo selected for the occasion was the younger and (and, if the later books are to be believed) much less wiser Elizabeth from the cover of “Prozac Nation” – looking anorexic, dishevelled, and sorely in need of a hug from an understanding maternal therapist. I hope those who went to the show based on that picture weren’t disappointed by the older, better-nourished, world-wearier authoress who actually showed up.