I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves by Ryan O’ Connell (5 out of 5)
First off, let me apologize for my week-long absence from the blog. I had to take my dad (I’m his caregiver) into the ER last Saturday night; he was bleeding internally and it took them a few days to figure out the cause and 3 procedures later, they finally got him to rights. So, although I took the laptop with me to the hospital, the combination of worry, exhaustion, and mind-numbing inertia rendered me blog-less. I simply could not just turn my mind into jelly enough to reach in and pull out a blog, and post. I hope those who do follow forgive me. I also, for the record, only got one book read in those 6 days- and this was the book. The fact that I could laugh wholeheartedly at parts of it and still had plenty to think about in other parts of it, is a testimonial to the power of the book. And it’s hilarious.
Ryan O’Connell has a blog that’s followed by millions, thousands read his works in magazines, his Youtube videos get comments and likes galore, and he’s got a shit ton of followers on Twitter. So- he has a voice that reaches out to all. This book is indeed part biography and part humor. I really enjoyed the humor, and I liked his call to arms on certain areas that twenty-somethings really should address. I really fucking wish I had a book like this to read in my twenties! Shit may have been different (Realistically? Not likely. I have a hard time following rules). Still, it would have provided a sea of thought. Ryan tells us right off the bat that he’s already a little different- he has cerebral palsy that puts him a step or two behind others, and he’s gay, so he’s already, in his mind at least, 0-2. He’s that unique young man who has NO problem telling you what you don’t want to hear, no matter how ugly it is. So in my life, we’ll call him Dylan. (The similarities in how Ryan talks and how one of my best guy friends talks? Eerie!). Ryan hits the treehouse known as the twenties, and things get very odd, indeed. He spends his time doing things that “usual” twenty-somethings do: getting internships trying to get a paid position, only to find out that doesn’t really happen that often in the real world, searched for a partner/fling/soulmate online, claiming to have no money yet thinking nothing of spending hundreds of dollars on things that he never really uses (half of my twenty-something friends are doing this RIGHT NOW), misbehaving with pills, and other set-aside hobbies that seem to litter that generation’s closet floors. What an eye opener. When I was in my twenties, all I carried about was getting married and having babies. When that evaporated quickly, I gave into my baser instincts and spent those years doing- SURPRISE!- what Ryan talks about here. I can’t tell you how many Live (the band) cd’s I spent beaucoup bucks on that had the exact same songlists on them. I was working as a manager at a Little Caesar’s- pay was shit, and whatever I made I spent. Like water. I ate out every other night, I drank a lot of whiskey and vodka, I smoked cigarettes, the only thing I didn’t do was drugs. (Not inclined, never was). I bought every single rare Duran Duran CD I could find at record conventions (NOT online. The interwebs didn’t really exist in my time of twenty-something-ness). I bought awful clothes and wore them to Jewel to buy- get this- more pizza, chips, and booze. Yes, the twenties were glamorous. NOT. But that’s the beauty of his book- he doesn’t shy away from anything he did, nor make excuses, although he does try to figure out why, to a lesser extent. He tries to HELP those who are going through it now. And I have a lot of friends who are guilty of several things he describes in this book. But again- you’re young, you’re wild, and you’re free (hair metal?)…so live it up. Or not… trying growing up. Ryan O’Connell doesn’t place a disclaimer at the beginning of his book that he’ll be able to help you, but as you read further on, you certainly get the feeling that this young man wants to just outgrow his young impulses, settle down, and live- but first, friends, you must get your galoshes out and retire the David Bowie glitter moon boots to the closet of your misbegotten youth.
If there is one thing that I disliked about this book, it’s this- like most things in life, it had to end. Hopefully, Ryan continues to write and inspire others. He has certainly inspired this 42 year old to shake out her dusty housecoat, retire her slippers to the Salvation Army, quit spending money on candles that you will never burn, and just LIVE. Within rhyme, within reason, and with FUN present in your life- it’s possible, and maybe by giving this book a chance, you’ll be inspired as I was. And giggling. For I was. This book is not out until June 2, 2015, on Simon & Schuster. As usual, I thank Wendy for sending me this. I can’t tell you enough that this inspiring bio/humorous essays book took my mind off of real life folding out in front of me. It is a perfect book to take your mind off of serious business. I highly recommend it!