Each essay revolves around a different maligned (and yet, Rax would argue, vital) cultural artifact. An essay about the gym-tan-laundry exuberance of Jersey Shore morphs into an excavation of grief over the death of her father; in You Wanna Be On Top, Rax writes about friendship and early aughts girlhood; in another, Guy Fieri helps her heal from an abusive relationship. They're about the power of pop culture—like any art—to imprint itself on our lives and shape our experience.
... funny and moving ... [King] defiantly doubles down on her affection for junk, spinning lovely tales of emotional truth ... She’s also open about infidelity and her history of bedding married men, writing with an invigorating honesty that doesn’t seek to make excuses or apologies nor is she seeking pity or sympathy from her readers ... The emotional breadth of Tacky is stunning, but it must be said that even though there are some aching moments in the book, King also has an expert hand at writing comedy. Tacky is a fun read and King’s writing persona is like that of an impossibly witty and funny friend that you love hanging out with. She can find the absurd in many of her situations and writes them in such a smart, literary, and humorous way, that often readers will find themselves laughing out loud
These pieces are smart and crass and unapologetic and wildly entertaining ... brings together cultural criticism and the personal essay and combines them into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. By digging into the specificity of her own connections to these seemingly innocuous and/or inane things, King takes the reader on a journey that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking ... There are those who might argue that the poignancy and impact of King’s personal explorations are somehow dulled by the pop cultural framework she utilizes, but those people – snobs that they almost certainly are – will have entirely missed the point. It is because of that framework that we can gain a truer understanding of the stories King seeks to tell ... Obviously, your mileage may vary regarding the effectiveness of these essays. There will almost certainly be references that don’t resonate with you over the course of these 14 pieces; I know there were a couple that simply went over my head. But that’s the point – we like what we like and who gives a damn what anyone else thinks? ... a thoughtful and charmingly snarky read; King is a gifted storyteller who is unafraid to aim those gifts squarely at herself – a rare combination. So pull on your snakeskin pants, order up a Crispy Chicken Costoletta and crank up the Creed – Rax King will take it from there.
Dishy, memoirish ... King’s writing in this collection often feels impetuous and unpolished. Her sentences...embrace a kind of hyperbole reminiscent of the early aughts internet and its provocations against formality — a subject I wish King had written about. That tone is perfectly on pitch for essays about Degrassi and Hot Topic. It doesn’t work as well when she’s stretching her own thesis ... For King, the freedom to enjoy tackiness seems to go hand in hand with the freedom to be a slut and enjoy it. But much of the book is about habits of consumption, and when King includes blowjobs and threesomes in that, the connection isn’t always clear ... I’m delighted that King hasn’t grown out of her adoration for calorie-rich, nutrient-lite culture ... But I do wish Tacky cared about what tacky really is ... Though she sometimes digs beneath her pet topics to understand why they’re so scorned, she does seem to forget — or purposefully ignore — that 'the worst culture we have to offer' slides up and down the spectrum of wealth.