“We Are Never Meeting in Real Life” by Samantha Irby is a hilarious collection of biographical essays that tell the craziest situations in the most verbose way.
Samantha is from the Chicago area and still lives there, so the first chapter is about how she’s never leaving her hometown, with adding that she still sees an elementary school teacher when she gets coffee. The title is an ode to her telling you everything, and being comfortable with that. She goes from her childhood, including her troubled family background; college, where she dropped out; liking men then liking women; adopting a sassy cat (probably similar to the cat on the cover); her irritable bowel syndrome (it does get gross); staying in the same assistant job for 15 years. The chapters that really stand out are the ones around her cat and her father.
The cat, named Helen Keller, gives her trouble the entire time, but the dialogue she puts in the cat’s mouth is funny. It’s like they’re constantly at war, and Samantha only got stuck with the cat because of her job at a veterinarian office.
Samantha doesn’t mention her late mother as much, but she mentions her late father a lot. She talks about her father, who was an alcoholic who would go missing days at a time and when he was home would bring illegal trouble into the home. Though she goes into detail about the unstable upbringing, it’s still in this upbeat, comedic tone. That’s what shines in this book is looking at life’s moments and having a sense of humor about it by describing every situation in the most exaggerated detail.
This book is great when you’re feeling down and need a pick-me-up. It’s the great comedic memoir you might be looking for if you’re open to reading about a black woman’s journey. Plus, she reads the audiobook in her awkwardly funny tone.