The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. From the inside cover: “The Book of Awesome reminds us of all the little things that we often overlook but that make us smile. With touching, warm, and funny observations, each entry ends with the big booming feeling you’ll get when you read through them: AWESOME!”
This book was in huge demand at the library all last summer and although I generally shy away from super popular bestsellers (having either truly superior or godawful taste – it’s open to debate), I felt the need for a little more awesomesauce in my own life.
So…I tried, okay? I tried to get in that ultra-optimistic, head-bobbing groove the book wants to create, but I just couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong – some of Pasricha’s awesome things really are awesome, like “Fixing electronics by smacking them,” and “Seeing somebody laugh in their sleep,” and “Saying the same thing a sports commentator says just before they say it.” Some I found odd, like “The smell of gasoline,” and “New socks day,” but whatever. He’s allowed to think those things are awesome. I’m understanding that way.
No, what bugged me most was Pasricha’s trying-way-too-hard-to-sound-hip-and-enthusiastic tone. Take this: “The other side of the pillow, folks. Because it’s flat when you’re sagging, fresh when you’re stale, and cold when you’re hot, baby.” Or this one: “Yes…you’re suddenly a Bus Fleet Fat Cat, swimming in tickets and tokens, commanding your private army of Sugar Rollers around town to pick you up and drop you off as you see fit. Baby, if you’re feeling this buzz, then there’s no reason you can’t get right into it too…” Or this one: “Head in the freezer, hands in the oven, whatever your move, just make it. Pick a temp, baby, then bake it. Pump up the thermostat, bang on the rad, or crank up the air.”
Looking at these Tidbits that Made Me Roll My Eyes (that name is in honour of the way Pasricha likes to make everything into a proper noun: moviegoers are The Back Row Crowd, Middle of the Packers, La-Z-Boys and Girls and Front Row Crazies, for instance), I realize my first objection might be the repeated use of the word “baby”. I don’t find it funny or hip or even ironic – just irritating. And that sing-songy patter got on my nerves. Just speak normally, guy. I’m sure I can understand whatever it is you’re trying to express without you presenting it in the form of a schlocky pop song.
Would I recommend this book? Well, surprisingly, despite This Blog Post of Bitchy, I would. Why? For one thing, I truly believe gratitude is A Good Thing (that one belongs to Martha Stewart) and we could all practice it more regularly. For another, Pasricha seems like a nice guy and it isn’t his fault I have this life-threatening allergy to kitsch. I can see how most people would enjoy this book. For those like me, with ice water running in their veins and hearts of granite, I recommend reading the titles only and skipping the commentary. You’re smart enough to figure out why “The sound of rain from inside the tent” is awesome. I’m pretty confident of that. And the bonus is you’ll finish the book in about twenty minutes. AWESOME!