Author: Josh Sundquist
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Bookshelves: non-fiction, hot-like-meh
A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker. Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend. For twenty-three hours. In eighth grade. Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong? The results of Josh's semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.
See, I feel weird about reading memoirs and autobiographies. And then reviewing them. I just do. It’s like someone handing over their dissected brain and heart (mind you, I’m not even doing the dirty work) and asking me to judge them. I don’t want to and yet I feel unable to not judge. I mean, seriously… I think your gray matter’s a little too purplish for my tastes in that corner (just kidding, nothing can ever be too purplish for my taste) or your heart is over-bleeding on my carpet. What a sap.
Butttt… this is John Sundquist yo! And he’s here trying to figure out why by the age of 25, he’d never had a single girlfriend for an entire day at the least.
We Should Hang Out Sometime has the delectable, deceiving smell of an inspiring story but it falls short at a stop several miles prior because the entire book, and more importantly, its conclusion has the feel of a guy trying to convince himself of the veracity of his own epiphany. But I get ahead of myself.
John Sundquist has met some awesome girls in his life, he and I admit, but they all soon became girls that got away: in eighth grade, in high school, in freshman year and throughout college, afterwards.
And here lies John, wondering what exactly went wrong. He gets there in the end, because obviously. However, before he does, in his monologue there is this sense of entitlement running that was annoying basically and you can build up on that however way you want.
But hey, you know what they say…
It got to me and it pissed me off, no matter how touching, teaching and funny his memoir could often be. Throughout the novel, he keeps pondering what went wrong with each of them, why they didn’t have a happily-ever-after without pausing for a minute anywhere to recognize and criticize this entitlement. He does realize that the fault entirely rests with him, not the girls, but it’s a different kind of fault.
(I do so wish that people would realize that just because you like someone, doesn’t mean you’ll end up with them regardless of what you do or don’t do.)
Maybe by now, Sundquist has it all figured out – I wouldn’t know – but from the writing style conveyed it, I’m leaning towards not. When !BOOM! in a parking lot, he senses the deep problem he should have faced long time ago (poignant scene, very) and has all this inner turbulence and tries to impart some lessons in the meanwhile as well, it simply became a mess, in terms of writing, and very fake.
And therein lies my second biggest problem with the novel: the prose.
And my biggest problem: the BORINGNESS of the prose, and consequently the story.
(THIS is why I don’t like reviewing/reading memoirs because I basically said I don’t like his life, when I haven’t lived it.)
By the last page, it was a flat story that made me wonder why I should care, why I ever wanted to. Boohoo! you didn’t get a girlfriend for a long time. That’s basically what the entirety of novel conveys, regardless of the fact that Sundquist’s intentions/experiences were different.
tl;dr: an uninspiring, monotonous, just-missed-it!, could-have-been!, repetitive story.
There WERE some pretty awesome graphs though. I really do love graphs.
You know what, though? He found the problem he found and his life is cooler now, so who cares? (Except maybe you and you and that mistress behind you who might buy this book and get bored. Problems for another day.)
Review copy provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.