I could say many things. For instance: I don’t fret when I skip workouts, I only run for the joy of it, and I run to get skinny. Or, I stopped flirting when I got married. Or, I am modest; and I agree so as to avoid discord. Or, I don’t seek approval and favor. But actually I’d be lying because I’m Not That Kind of Girl.
Tonight was a Big Night. The kind of night when jaded experience gets set aside, and instead one exists purely to revel in another’s moment of ascendancy.
You see, tonight my dearest friend in the whole entire world had the launch party for her first book, which is officially on sale tomorrow. Even though I have watched books succeed and fail in this fickle publishing industry for eleven crusty years, I still sat there in my plastic folding chair at the Corner Bookstore on the Upper East Side and got misty-eyed as I read the dedication (“To my mother and father and to Dan and Ilona”), and saw my Carlene stand behind the counter and read sweetly aloud from her memoir. “In February, we went on an overnight retreat to a college in North Jersey,” she recited.
Her memoir is called Not That Kind of Girl, and it is amazing. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know I adore CB, that she makes me a better person simply by being my friend and confidante. But when I say her memoir is amazing I am going beyond the loyalty and love I have for her, because she’s written a stunner. Not That Kind of Girl is the honest, humorous, at times painful and incredibly intelligent story of her life thus far–a life begun as an earnest and frightened believer in an Evangelical God, and a life through which she evolved into an educated and disappointed skeptic, with more confidence in the prowess of her own mind and in the truth of sensuality than in some church’s creepy dogma.
Carlene was my college roommate; ever since our sophomore year she’s been my best friend. We’ve seen the best and the worst of each other; we’ve weathered more storms than most married couples. Yes, I’m in her book; but merely as comic relief for a few pages, as an example of who CB would and could never be (thankfully).
Her writing is smooth and economical, insightful and revealing. Although the past seventeen years of my personal history overlaps with CB’s, it hardly resembles her experiences; and yet as she parses hers I recognize truths about my own. In my line of work (as a marketing director for a book publisher) I read a lot of crap memoirs and even more crap novels. Keep that in mind when I say that Ms Bauer has nothing to be ashamed of; indeed, her written voice is pitch-perfect and classy, charming and disarming. She is Audrey in a room full of Marilyns.
What is this book about? You can click here for a summary; and here for more information about my best friend; and here to read a lengthy excerpt. There are some reviews–Elle, the New York Post, and Publishers Weekly (scroll down). But truly, just take my word for it: if you have a functioning brain, if you think about your place in the world, if you’ve ever felt awkward, disappointed by reality, or wanted more than what made the rest of the people around you happy–you will love her book. Please buy it.
My dearest Carlene, who never scoffed at me for my running when even I thought it was absurd, to you I say Congratulations on a life story well told, and a book well written. You are a star, you give me hope and direction. I love you and I am proud to be numbered amongst your friends.