If you’re not a fan of self-help books but seem to be looking for that spark of inspiration to get the creativity flowing, this book might just be the spark you need ... might be the funniest book you have ever read.
Resonated, more than I wanted to admit ... Still, Power manages to keep her wits about her, maintaining a wry, cheeky style that should appeal to self-help skeptics ... reads like a novel, with full-color recurring characters, including love interests, an increasingly exasperated roommate and Power’s pragmatic, farm-raised mom always ready with a one-liner.
Those allergic to me, me, me millennial moaning might want to steer clear, as Help Me! is, inevitably, rather self-indulgent. However, there are plenty of reasons to like Power, not least because of her frequent awareness that she’s 'getting lost up my own navel-gazing behind' ... The strength of this debut lies in its funniness ... The book does teeter towards the gimmicky...However, by the time she confronts the root of why she has no savings and is terrified of the opposite sex, she has won the reader over ... The book could have been slightly shorter, but it has a nice balance of poignancy and mockery ... No one could accuse Power of holding back ... Yes, she gets cheesy and American about self-acceptance and female friendships, but you can’t help hoping her 'nutty self-help bubble' pays off.
Power occasionally brings the funny; her description of one bad date was a genuine Bridget Jones moment ... But the navel gazing and the guilt about the navel gazing make her go a bit mad about halfway through her journey; she pushes friends and family away, drinks excessively, bolts from perfectly lovely men and continues to avoid washing her hair. Some of those closest to her begin to avoid her. But all have an annoying way of showing up again to tell her that, despite her self-loathing, the rest of the world doesn’t see her the way she sees herself. As a writerly contrivance, you can do this once or twice; when you do it over and over the reader begins to think, Maybe she skimped on the self-help books about writing ... filled with epiphanies that are unceremoniously discarded a few pages later. Perhaps that’s the point of the book, but this can be a little exhausting.
Power is not immune from using the cliches of the books she is trying to critique ... lightning bolts of real-life experience, including what sounds like a painful breakdown three-quarters of the way through her experiment, stop Help Me! from floating off into inconsequence ... Still, the book retains a certain generic weightlessness. Making art, really funny art, out of the gap between how young women are and how they think they ought to be is still possible 20 years on from Bridget Jones: just think of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s darkly sublime Fleabag. Help Me! floats over the same territory but left me, just like the self-help texts it sets out to interrogate, hungry for something more. What’s missing, ultimately, is that sharp crack of insight that tells us what it feels like to be youngish and female here, now, at this very moment in history.
Throughout this consistently entertaining book, she writes with unflinching honesty—and bald hilarity, especially as she encountered deadpan reality checks from her mother, sisters, and skeptical friends—about the throes of facing her fears, tackling money issues, living in the present, opening herself up to rejection, and getting over her hang-ups with men ... A winner. Bridget Jones meets Buddha in this plucky, heartwarming, comical debut memoir.
Frank, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking ... Already a bestseller in Power’s native England, the book will surely find a welcoming American readership. Power’s total honesty and openness will make readers realize that, at heart, everyone has similar secret fears and insecurities.