Every once in a while, you find a book that knocks you to your knees and shakes you to your core. A book that teaches you valuable life lessons and makes you rethink the way you view yourself and the world around you. If you’re really lucky, that book will make you laugh just as much as it makes you cry.
For me, that book is Little Weirds, Jenny Slate’s 2019 collection of essays about life, love, and learning to love life.
Fans of Slate’s comedy will recognize her absurd, lively sense of humor almost immediately into beginning this book. She manages to talk about topics like loneliness, anxiety, and divorce with such intimacy while maintaining a whimsical, silly tone that stops her essays from seeming bleak or saddening. Her writing style is unlike any other I’ve experienced, mainly because she finds a way to use metaphor and personification to describe in such detail the impact people, places, and things can have on her mind, body, and soul. She disregards the rules of language entirely in order to create her own form of magical realism, and it works.
Here’s just one of several amazing quotes:
I am a plant and I have a fragile green stem and my flower is still in the pod on the top of the stalk, unopened, when the dawn strolls in over the horizon. My blossom spreads out during the day and it goes into the pod at night and then it goes again the next day and all of the days.Jenny Slate, Little Weirds
Another major topic discussed in Slate’s book is misogyny, which she grapples with externally and internally. She takes the reader on her journey through learning how to chip away at internalized misogyny and the difference that has made on her self-image, and she also talks about learning to stand up for herself in situations where she is not being respected. I loved reading these sections of the book in particular because I recognized so much of myself in the situations being discussed. With all the opposition and downright cruelty women experience at the hands of men, it’s important to remember to be kind to yourself and recognize the effects misogyny can have on your own sense of self.
Overall, Little Weirds is the best book I’ve read in a long time. It reminded me that life is something to be marveled at, and there is so much beauty in the world around us that often goes unacknowledged. Slate’s ability to slow down and appreciate the simple things like the feeling of a morning breeze or the scent of a spring flower inspires me to do the same. Her candor about feelings of loneliness and hopelessness shook me in its earnestness, but also showed me that these are all just facets of life that make the happier moments even sweeter.