Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: I Don’t Care About Your Band

Full title -
I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated

I randomly stumbled upon this book while browsing in a bookstore. The cover was cute and the title really caught my eye. After getting it from the library, I finished it in two days. However, that’s not to say that I “couldn’t put it down.” Rather, I breezed through it so quickly because I constantly wanted to get on to the good parts. Unfortunately, though, there weren’t many of those. This book was nothing more than a big disappointment.

I expected “I Don’t Care About Your Band” to be composed of a funny chapter devoted to each crazy boy author Julie Klausner dated. But the complete picture was more of a personal ramble that never concretely nailed down the men. Based on the description on the back of the book, I also expected it to have a witty, sarcastic tone. But the self-deprecation in “I Don’t Care…” wasn’t funny. It reads like a case of low self-esteem. Klausner spends more time talking about her insecurities and why she dated such duds than she spends discussing the duds themselves. And it’s no wonder she dated such losers—she acts desperate, jumps into bed with any guy who’ll have her, and displays a complete lack of self-confidence. It’s infuriating when Klausner notes that this or that man was so much hotter than she—especially since the photo on the cover proves that she is, in fact, very pretty and thin. It made me think that the men weren’t so bad after all, if only because Klausner encouraged their behavior by being so desperate and pathetic.

Unfortunately, most of the men are not fully fleshed out, but rather woven into Klausner’s self-description rambles. I wanted them to be distinct characters at the center of their own tales, but they were actually pretty boring. Only a couple come off as being truly ridiculous; the rest are just mild jerks—but, again, why should they have been anything more when Klausner was such a doormat? Those titles on the cover—indie rocker, hipster, porn star, etc, give the men too much credit. Her beaus are so normal and boring that whittling their personalities down to cliché labels just doesn’t work.

Klausner herself also isn’t much more likeable than the men she dates. She makes a lot of offensive and misogynist statements, such as claiming that bisexual women are just horny but bisexual men are “actually gay men,” and that women don’t maintain female friendships without backstabbing and competing with each other (and, as such, all women should have a gay male best friend). She also makes a crack at one point about the Holocaust not being real. I’m sure she thinks she was being funny and sarcastic, but the statement comes out of nowhere and doesn’t belong. Aside from its inherent offensiveness (whether joking or not), it just doesn’t make sense in the context of the story.

The only parts that really intrigued me are when Klausner discusses pop culture relationships, including Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, and Pam and Jim from the show “The Office.” Kermit is the sensitive eternal bachelor, a musician who never bothers to settle down while every step of the way leading Miss Piggy to think he will eventually do so. This part actually made me get mad at Kermit! I’ll never be able to look at The Muppets the same way again. Jim and Pam represent Klausner’s thesis that all men want a woman whom no one else knows is pretty, possibly the only original idea contained in this book.

To be fair, there are some laugh-out-loud funny lines in this book, but they were few and far between. If I wanted to read a book about one woman’s self-esteem issues, I’d hang out in the Self Help section at the bookstore, not Humor.

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