This book is a collection of tales about the author’s experience of growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s with very eccentric parents. Susan Jane Gilman and her siblings were treated to some unusual family outings, such as when her mother signed up the whole family for a meditation class, or the week’s vacation they took at a Socialist retreat. But Gilman yearned to fit in with other children she met. She coveted the pretty white confirmation dresses worn by her Puerto Rican neighbors and at one point decided to “become Latino”. At her exclusive school, her family’s mix of liberalism, strangeness, and Jewishness, on top of her being a scholarship student, meant she would never quite be accepted.
Gilman spent her teenage years obsessing over Mick Jagger, finally managing to meet him in an awkward moment that didn’t live up to her fantasy. As she got older, Gilman struggled to find her “true self”, like most young adults. She wanted to be a strong independent feminist, but liked feeling pretty. She wanted to be anti-wedding, but when she tried on a wedding dress she realized she felt like a princess and wanted a big traditional wedding.
Like most books of essays, some chapters of this one are more entertaining than others. Some are also more introspective and a few a bit less believable. However, there are enough laugh out loud moments to keep you interested and make you like Gilman a lot by the end of the book. Fans of A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel, or I know I am, but what are you? by Samantha Bee will enjoy this book.