Before I started listening Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar, I had no idea who Kelly Oxford was. I was drawn into the (audio) book by the title and that I like to listen to memoirs while working out (in this case swimming laps) since if I get distracted for a moment, I won’t necessarily miss a crucial detail that plays a huge role in the resolution of the story.
After spending several hours with Kelly, I have to say that it’s highly unlikely we’d be friends. Or that I’d even be one of the millions of people that follow her on Twitter. Maybe she’s funny, witty or zany over there, but in this collection of essays, I found her smug and with an over-inflated opinion of herself and her own importance.
It’s one thing to help create a mental picture of someone by comparing them to an 80’s celebrity icon. It’s another for EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the book to get this treatment, ensuring that it goes from being clever to being annoying somewhere around the third or fourth portion of the audio book. It also doesn’t help that essay after essay brags on a)her looks (usually done by other people) b)her cleverness (again done others) or c)both.
And for all the time I spent with this memoir (because for some reason I felt like at some point it HAD to get better), I never quite got how or why she chose this as the title for her book or if there’s be an essay in there that tied everything together. In fact, it finally occurred to me in fifth or sixth segment that Oxford’s books felt more like a collection of blog posts than an actual book of essays with a theme or at least a thread running through it.
And I was fully prepared to give the book a single star until I got to the chapter in which Oxford talks about her going back to school and her internships working with brain-damaged and elderly patients. This chapter helps humanize Oxford and make actually begin to like her. Her reactions, observations and reported interactions actually began to make me see there was more to her than the girl who blew all her money so she could get a free plane ride home from a local charity. (If there’s one thing that really started to stick in my craw as the book went along, it’s how Oxford’s self-absorption never seems to have any consequences for her….or at least any she tells us about).
For that chapter alone, the book rose one star to two.
Other that that, not much to recommend here.
I can’t help but feel the audio book wasn’t helped by having Oxford read it. I’ve read other reviews that talk about how the printed version overuses certain forms of punctuation and felt like it needed a good editor. The audio book wasn’t helped by the feeling that Oxford is continually bragging about how her various misadventures and how there seem to be little, if any consequences to them for her. It probably underlined the feeling of her being self-absorbed and self-centered a great deal to hear these stories related in her own voice and with her own vocal emphasis.