ARC Review: We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

We Should Hang Out SometimeAuthor: Josh Sundquist

Genre: Memoir, humor

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: December 23, 2014

336 pages, hardcover

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for letting me read this.

I’m not going to lie, before I requested this book on Netgalley, all I knew about Josh Sundquist was that he was that YouTuber with one leg who dressed up as a Gingerbread man with one leg bitten off a few years ago. I’d never watched any of his videos or anything. Not that I was against him, I just never had.

Well, I have now. I’m subscribed to him on YouTube and follow him on Tumblr. It’s not because of the book. Well, it is, but probably not why you’d think. I’m going to give you a short rundown of what the book is about and what I thought about it overall, but the real reason I liked the book so much was because of the way I was able to connect with Josh. So here we go:

When Josh was 24, he realized he’d never had a girlfriend. Unless you count the one he sort of had in 8th grade that lasted 23 hours – but Josh doesn’t because he thinks you shouldn’t count a relationship unless it’s lasted a full day. So he decides to try and figure out why. Was it the way he looked? The way he acted? Josh’s book is broken into several cases, with a background section, hypothesis, and investigation for each, in which he details his encounters and friendships with girls and why they didn’t work out. The book is funny and interesting albeit heartbreaking and really, really honest in parts. Overall, I enjoyed the book (though I thought parts of it were melodramatic and the end was too abrupt and I wish we’d gotten a little more future since we got so much past). The diagrams and charts included were hilarious and had me laughing out loud several times.

But the part I really connected with was when Josh was talking about his disability. Alright, I know I have two legs, but I was surprised by how many similarities there were between how people reacted to him and how people react to me. In case you weren’t aware, I have no hair. I have alopecia, which basically means my body makes my hair fall out. Society has deemed that people who look different or strange are not quite normal and, therefore, it is okay to say really horrible things to them. Josh put into words exactly how I feel and how people react. It was so strange but wonderful to connect with someone you’ve never met and probably never will meet in such an emotional way. How insecure being different makes you, how hard it is (sometimes) for people to see past the thing that makes you different, how weird and awkward people can be about it. I felt connected to Josh even though the things that set us apart are wildly different. A few examples of passages I related to (NOTE: these were taken from an e-ARC and are subject to change in the final copy):

So now it’s really obvious—like right now everyone on the sidewalk where I’m standing can see that I have one leg. But at least there’s no question about what sort of disability I have. I’m not trying to disguise it with a fake leg or something. It’s like, what you see is what you get.

Again, I know I don’t have a disability, but this is exactly how I feel about wearing wigs or hats. This is what I look like, if you don’t like it, I don’t care. This is me. Another:

I’m not sure what it is about having one leg that makes people want to comment on it. But for some reason my disability gives many individuals permission in their own minds to say whatever they want despite our being total strangers. And often what they say ends up being quite awkward. Especially the questions they ask.

I mean, preach Josh. Oh my goodness. That quote is my life. People ask and say the strangest things and it is super awkward. I don’t mind people asking questions for the most part. What bothers me is the assumptions. Assuming I have cancer. It’s basically like saying, “Hey. You look sick. Are you dying?”

The bottom line: Overall, I liked this book. I had a few issues with it (it felt a little exaggerated in parts), but because I connected with it in such a profound way, I ended up really enjoying it. Also, I don’t think you have to have a disability or no hair or whatever to like this book. It’s funny, honest, and has some hilarious diagrams that should be seen.

Teaser Tuesday: We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It’s super easy: open your current read to a random page and share two sentences from that page – but make sure you don’t spoil the book!

We Should Hang Out SometimeMy current read is We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist. I’m reading this one as an e-ARC, so I can’t exactly open it to a random page. Instead, I’m going to give you a passage that I highlighted because I thought it was pretty funny. This quote is found 17% of the way through the e-ARC.

“And you’ll probably be invited to join a gang,” he added.

“In your first week,” said Mom.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll be sure to wait until offers come in from all the gangs before I make my final decision.”

This book is full of witty anecdotes like this and I’ve found myself smiling or laughing several times. The book is pretty funny and honest, so I’m enjoying it so far, for the most part. I plan on reviewing it Friday, so check back then for my full thoughts! Make sure you add We Should Hang Out Sometime to your Goodreads TBR. It comes out on December 23!

If you participate in Teaser Tuesday, link me up! Or if you don’t, tease me with your current read in the comments!

Audiobook Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Author: Mindy Kaling
Narrators: Mindy Kaling
Audiobook length: 4 hours and 37 minutes
Genre: Autobiography, humor
Publisher: Random House Audio
Check out the synopsis on Goodreads.

Okay, so I’ve never watched The Office (well, except for about 30 minutes of one episode I was forced to watch and didn’t like) and the only thing I’ve seen Mindy Kaling in is The 40-Year Old Virgin and about three episodes of The Mindy Project. In case you were wondering, I also didn’t like The 40-Year Old Virgin. You’re probably also wondering why in the world I would want to read/listen to a book by someone I have little to no experience with. Well, even though I haven’t seen her in much, I’ve always found her to be pretty funny and a lot of people (including author Jennifer E. Smith – who I love) have raved about how much they loved this book. I had to check it out.

I listened to this whole audiobook on a weekend trip and it made the drive feel both short and long. I doubt this book was meant to be an insightful piece of literature, which is good because it isn’t. It’s silly, light-hearted and quite fun. At times. I can’t say that this book is laugh-out-loud funny the entire time. It’s not. I did laugh though – more than I thought I would.

There’s a lot of lists in this book, and I’m a big fan of lists. We get Mindy’s favorite comedy moments, and I agree with a lot of them. Except every mention of Will Ferrell (and there are A LOT), who I don’t find funny. I didn’t really enjoy her lists about dieting – she mentions how she was constantly made fun of for her weight as a child but she was comfortable with herself, yet she is constantly trying new diets and regimes. Blah.

For the first two-thirds or so of the book, I was enjoying myself. It’s an interesting and funny memoir about her super normal childhood and upbringing and then her subsequent super unlikely rise to fame and success. But then she reaches her current height of success at NBC and the book just falls on its face. There are essays entitled “Why Do Men Put on Their Shoes So Slowly?” and “In Defense of Chest Hair” which are just as silly and pointless as they sound. This is when I was rolling my eyes a lot, which probably isn’t that great of an idea while you’re driving down the interstate but I couldn’t help it.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed this book, because Mindy is charming, funny, silly, and as much a fan of lists as I am. It made my trip feel a lot more fun than it usually is and the boring, drab trip down to the coast of Mississippi wasn’t as blah as normal. So yay for that! But then the trip back home started off well and then made me wish I had brought another audiobook. I’m glad I finally listened to it though. Recommended for fans of Mindy Kaling, for sure, and fans of fun audiobooks, Hollywood stories, and tales of living in NYC.

P.S. If you aren’t a fan of Kaling’s voice or are iffy about it, I’d read the physical book.