Disaster Preparedness by Heather Havrilesky(3 out of 5)
Who is Heather Havrilesky? I hadn’t heard of her at all prior to this. She has a blog and is a writer… This is her memoir of growing up and dealing with the real hard stuff in life- namely, the divorce of her parents when she’s 9 and then the sudden death of her father years later. When I read the book jacket, I got the feeling it was a light-hearted humorous look at their own lives, ala Nora Ephron or Tina Fey. Instead, it was very hard to keep going with it. There are moments with this book where you are completely left at loose ends- meaning, you feel like Heather is going to share a profound thought on the way things are, and instead she ends up just delivering a light anecdote. There aren’t a lot of light anecdotes.
I think this book was meant to be more of a farewell present to her departed father, rather than a “memoir”. You sense a lot of love and admiration for her father, as well as slight emotional upheaval when her parents decide to divorce. I know how that is. However, it’s such a slim book at a little under 300 pages, that it’s hard to get a total lock on the man and even on Heather. She strikes you as this character in a Judy Blume book, almost as if she’s got confidence, but it’s overly imagined to get her through the tough stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t make for a compelling read. It also doesn’t make me feel connected to the character of Heather’s father, and it really didn’t help me connect more with Heather, either.
Overall, not bad, but not great. I felt like something is missing. There were parts of the book where it felt like she was rushing to stand still. In a biography, where it’s YOUR life that’s being addressed, well, I don’t think it’s a good thing.