In Everything I Need I Get from You, Kaitlyn Tiffany, a staff writer at The Atlantic and a superfan herself, guides us through the online world of fans, stans, and boybands. Along the way we meet girls who damage their lungs from screaming too loud, fans rallying together to manipulate chart numbers using complex digital subversion, and an underworld of inside jokes and shared memories surrounding band members' allergies, internet typos, and hairstyles. In the process, Tiffany makes a convincing argument that fangirls, in their ingenuity and collaboration, created the social internet we know today.
She approaches her subject with a wry critical distance — which is actually, she argues, an underappreciated but common fan characteristic ... Tiffany traces the shifting status of fangirls in the culture at large ... Tiffany is at the height of her powers when she is describing, with touching specificity, why it might make sense for a person to invest serious time and money into a bunch of cute boys singing silly love songs. She contextualizes fandom as a culturewide coping mechanism and creative outlet ... Fandom can be a route toward cyberbullying a baby, or it can be a way of figuring some things out about yourself. Sometimes, it can even forge a writer as funny and perceptive as Kaitlyn Tiffany.
... wistful, winning, and unexpectedly funny ... the social event of fandom may finally be less compelling than its individual dimension. Being a fan, for Tiffany, is achingly personal. I loved her musings on why and how people pledge themselves to a piece of culture, and whether that commitment changes them ... My own fandom for the book caught fire in such moments, when Tiffany’s cultural analysis parted to reveal glimpses of memoir. Her book evokes the intimacy of the fan-artist relationship: how your chosen mania can become the lens through which you process the world ... In a way, Tiffany’s rendering of fandom as specific and incommunicable risks undermining her premise, which has to do with the massed power of people online. The groups she describes are rife with schisms—those who want Styles to be straight and those who want him to be gay, those who demand that he support Black Lives Matter and those who make racist comments at his concerts. Perhaps this is the predictable result of millions of individuals trying to fashion a pop star into a mirror. The collective narrative disintegrates faster than it can be spun. And yet the dream of interconnection, which is also the dream of the Internet, remains as irresistible as the sweetest guitar lick.
... a smart, empathetic work of nonfiction that examines young women and the ways they have innovated digital spaces ... Tiffany upends our biases about fangirls and shows them as the creative, tongue-in-cheek, freethinking individuals that they are ... When it comes to her personal connection with fandom, Tiffany is honest and forthcoming ... Though Everything I Need is primarily a critical examination, Tiffany’s self-effacing tone and sly humor cast her as a worthy memoirist as well ... Indeed, much of the book’s strength comes from its personal accounts ... To show that fangirls have invented the internet is a lofty task, especially for something as multifaceted as the internet. While she makes well-argued points about how women and minority groups have changed the interfaces and user experiences of today’s social media platforms, Tiffany’s experiences with the internet may not be yours. I found specific examples, such as the way Black Twitter innovated the platform, more persuasive in their own contexts than against the broader thesis. Everything I Need is the most compelling when it captures fangirls, both online and off.