Published by Grand Central ISBN 9781478936619
Hardcover, $26, 287 pages
Jessi Klein is the head writer and executive producer of the very funny Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. For that reason alone I wanted to read her book, You'll Grow Out Of It.
The book is a series of essays about how Jessi got to be where and who she is. The first essay, The Tom Man, recounts what happens when a tomboy grows up. People like tomboys, tom men not so much.
She didn't care much what she looked like, wearing "her dad's old button-down cowboy shirts with enormous shapeless jeans and combat boots" in high school. When she got a real office job, she still dresses " a smidge like a rodeo clown" and thought that Hanes Her Way bikini underwear was the height of sexiness.
Finally, when she met a girlfriend at a bar, and her friend told her that she loved her, but her maroon backpack overflowing with papers and books hurt her feelings, she got the message. Jessi decided that if she wanted to date a Grown Man then she'd have to make an attempt to look like a Grown Woman.
"But when I looked at what it would mean to become a woman- one of those standard grown-up ladies, like the ones from commercials for gum or soda or shampoo- it all seemed to involve shrinking rather than growing."Klein's observations are thoughtful, like in her essay The Bath, about how women loves baths because for women, the bath is "where you go when you run out of options", when you don't have a room of your own to go to.
"This is why Virginia Woolf stressed the importance of having a room of one's own. If you don't fight for it, don't insist on it, don't sacrifice for it, you might end in that increasingly tepid water, pruning and sweating while you dream of other things."
Klein is a comedy writer, so there are many funny lines in here, like describing a woman who was "just rounding third from medium drunk to very drunk." (I'm a sucker for a baseball metaphor.)
In talking about attending a Bar Method exercise class, she observes that "women have problem areas in a way that men don't. We have big hips and muffin tops. Men just have the thing where they create wars and wreak havoc all over the globe."
In The Cad, she advises that "when you encounter a man wearing loafers with no socks, run. I once heard that the late Tim Russert also believed that a sockless man is not to be trusted, which means that it is definitively true."
One of her funniest essays is Types, where she describes the different types of men she likes and their celebrity inspiration. I don't normally read anything about the TV show The Bachelor, but her take on it made me think, as did her essay on porn.
The one essay that spoke to me the most was Ma'am, abut that time in all our lives when we move from being called miss to being called ma'am by department store clerks, waiters, bank tellers, etc. I just kept saying "amen" throughout this essay, like Klein was a preacher in church and I was agreeing wholeheartedly with her sermon.
The book ends with Klein preparing to attend the Emmy Awards, just a few weeks after giving birth to her son. She was panicked about choosing a dress, and when her friend told her that the one Jessi liked best made her look like Mrs. Roper, she nearly gave up hope. Anyone who likes the backstory on Hollywood will love that essay.
You'll Grow Out Of It made me laugh and made me think, just like when I watch Amy Schumer's show. It's a little Tina Fey mixed with Amy Poehler mixed with Nora Ephron, and it's a great gift to give to a young woman just starting out in life. I recommend it.