It’s Hard Not to Hate You by Valerie Frankel
After traipsing through some pretty heavy reads lately, I decided to lighten up a bit and try the newest nonfiction book from Valerie Frankel. While I was not familiar with Frankel’s prior novels or nonfiction books, I’m pretty sure I’ve read some of her magazine articles since she has been published numerous times in the women’s mag and rags I’ve enjoyed over the years.
In a nutshell, this book is roughly 250 pages of various takes on the theme of “I Hate Everybody.” The author pulls no punches as she makes her way through New York City in this no-holds-barred manifesto that reads like a much longer un-sung version of the Cee-Lo Green rant. And hey, nice cover photo!
When her therapist suggests that she “out” her Inner Hater, Frankel is at first mortified and quite reluctant to do so. After all, she has spent her whole life swallowing her pride, taking abuse from former high school Mean Girls, snobby ex-boyfriends, and neighbors that blow her off when she passes them on the street. No more. Once The Beast is unleashed, there is no holding back! Frankel’s verbal onslaught is both sharp and humorous. In a nostalgic kind of way, I’m reminded of Roseanne; you know, back when the TV show first started, before she and Dan won the lottery.
I had fun picturing the many scenarios of the author’s catty paybacks; the type of behavior that would make Larry David proud. I found myself rooting for Frankel as she shamelessly gets in the face of a robotic worker at Subway, has fantasies about a clueless cashier’s head bursting into flames, and casts mental daggers at the couple who insist on bringing their bratty kids into a fine-dining restaurant. In fact, these were the parts of the book I enjoyed the most. The other filler material about the history of her literary career and factoids from Psychology 101 were kind of ho-hum and I found myself speed-reading over those parts to get to the meatier stuff where Frankel truly shines as a writer.
All in all, I think excerpts from the book would make great magazine articles, as it felt like the chapters were actual articles strewn together to make the whole. A great read if you’ve ever felt slighted, dissed, snubbed, or downright ignored by the people in your universe. I would recommend this book to anybody who’s ever felt the urge to screech “We’re not gonna take it” at the top of their lungs.