I Don’t Have A Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom by Kim Korson (5 out of 5)
Oh boy. Don’t read this if you’re a shiny, happy-go-lucky type. Or maybe you SHOULD read it. Because it will smack you in the head with a good dose of reality. Harsh, cold, uncaring reality. People like me? Tend to like books like this. I would, and will, definitely recommend it to those who enjoyed Jenny Lawson. Very similar! Yes, very similar. If possible, I think Kim has Lawson beat by a smidge. A smidge, for those unaware of the word’s definition, is the barest of slivers. Autobiographical? Oh yes, 100% grits and tits exposed (well, not really, but you know what I mean. Or you will. After you read it).
Kim Korson traces what should be a normal childhood growing up in Canada. Her parents are something else; you get the sense from her recollections that her mom has some depression issues and her father has a feminine side that he embraces way too much for his daughter’s cautious curiosity. (I love how she recalls the purse he carried, the too snug jeans he always wore, and best yet, the Capricorn necklace glistening in the sunlight. Leave it to a male Capricorn to have such fashion sense!). Kim’s childhood stories, from camp to making friends whose domestic turmoil feeds into Kim’s hopes for a friend who has a chaotic homicidal home life, are hilarious. I was inspired to write a short story about how I used to pop Pez like Xanax while at the zoo and hope that an irate giraffe would escape and run roughshod over my siblings, and other misdemeanors of a young, infinitely disturbed mind (mine). I haven’t written a thing in weeks- until I started plowing through her book. It’s a relief I am not the only one with a young, disturbed disposition! Kim treads, wearing steel toed boots, through her career in showbiz with dissension and her rituals in the dating world- things that normally would set off happy trickles of domesticity in most people, set off her negativity neurons to a rapid fire finish. It is a very real skill to find the darkest hues in this rainbow called life, but Kim has to be the Queen, proven time and time again in her book. If you think you’ve read it all, wait until Kim becomes a wife and mother (the chapter of her getting engaged to Buzz is among the best, in my opinion. I haven’t laughed that much in a long, long, long time), then the razor sharp wit really jumps up a level. When motherhood brings a whole new litany of dark chapeaus to wear, Buzz throws a curveball at Kim- he wants them to leave their beloved New York City for the picturesque postcard views of Vermont (Vermont to me always conjured up Newhart and maple syrup, two things I hate with a passion). I didn’t blame Kim one bit for being more conflicted over whether to buy glitter or move. I wouldn’t have thought twice- I would have bought all the glitter, and told my hubby to go to Vermont-ALONE. I was totally on our girl’s side throughout this book. I have also wished I could have married Duran Duran, Kim. I also had an African American Cabbage Patch doll. I also made friends in grade school by hanging out with the loners and or picking fights with other malcontents. I’ve been there, Kim, although my own strange misadventures with the dark side of despondency have yet to be finished, and (hopefully, someday) published. While no one waits for that to happen, do yourself a favor and read this book when it’s released!
I Don’t Have A Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom is out on April 14, 2015, courtesy of the fine folks over at Simon & Schuster. I was provided, at my own request, with an ARC, from the lovely Wendy at S&S.