The Memoirs of 'I' - Yolanda De Iuliis
I received a copy of this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
I will open by saying that I hate abandoning books. I like to think that I can learn something new even from books I don't like and that all perspectives are worth delving into. But I just could not continue reading this.
Now I don't think it's fair to give a book a star rating if you didn't finish it, so I won't give it an official rating, but I'd give what I read so far 1-star. I really hate leaving bad reviews and I like to try to see the validity in every perspective so I will try to stick to the author's own words.
I made it through the first 50 pages. But there was an entry that really upset me and I could not continue. I skimmed through some of the later entries to see if it gets better, but in my opinion it did not.
The whole book is a bunch of contradictions: "I never judge people" right after judging people who she assumes aren't thinking because they're on their phones; critiques people "only interested in other people's lives" right before talking about how she watches people and tires to figure out their lives; a whole entry about how self-centered others are but published a book of her thoughts collected over a year, most of which revolve around her.
De Iuliis makes a lot of generalizations about people and doesn't seem to have the ability to understand others. The writing is very narcissistic and self-righteous as she brags about how easy it is for her to think hard about things and assumes others don't think.
This feels like reading a teenage girl's diary. It is overly dramatic and there's no real insight, just her own perception of how profound she is. It's full of pseudo-philosophical psycho-babble and obvious advice like "don't be jealous" and "accept reality", which just come off as cliche. There are a few good lines such as "being alone and being lonely is entirely different", but on the whole there isn't really anything profound in the book.
De Iuliis writes about little things like not receiving a personalized gift from someone for Christmas and how angry that makes her. While skimming through the rest of the book, I came across a tirade against the pointlessness of taxes and knew there was nothing in this book for me.
These were all things that I could put up with and I was planning to finish the book, despite these flaws, but then I came across an entry that really made me sick and I just could not read anymore. <spoiler> On January 24, 2015, De Iuliis opens with "I had a really good night!" then goes on to depict how she witnessed a drunk woman stand in the street, singing, dancing, and taking of her top (in the winter mind you, it's two degrees and raining). She speculates that the woman may have been a drugs as well and notes multiple times that the woman is alone. What does she do? Does she approach the woman, offer to share a cab, call the police to get the woman out of the street? No. She laughs. She describes the event as "entertaining." While she claims she will not judge the woman, she uses adjectives such as "vile", "grotesque", and "horrible". The author recognizes that this woman is drunk, alone, and half naked in the street, but does nothing to help her. She laughs along with the other people on the street, the bystander effect in action. She then speculates why the woman got in this situation, but never stops to think that this woman may be in danger of being raped, getting hit by a car, having alcohol poisoning, or freezing to death, a true disappointment coming from someone who goes on and on about the philosophy of being "the change you want to see in the world". </spoiler>
I continued reading passed this point to see if the author ever reflects on it, but did not come across anything. And that's how the book reads. The author never reflects on her own action or inaction, just spews her inner thoughts, which usually revolve around herself. I was really disgusted by De Iuliis' inaction, especially considering her previous clique advice of not being so self-centered. De Iuliis seems to reflect on life, but gets stuck in her own head instead of actually doing anything. I read the reflections and the conclusion, and while the writing gets a teeny tiny bit more mature, she still just reflects her own thoughts when things happen around her, like when the pastor falls during service. She doesn't seem to think about other people at all.
After reading that scene, I really just couldn't continue the book. I felt disgusted.
This is the first book I have officially abandoned.