Meghan examines our country’s most intractable problems and tries to make sense of the current landscape—from Donald Trump’s presidency to the #MeToo movement and beyond. In the process, she wades into the waters of identity politics and intersectionality, theorizes about the gender wage gap, and tests a theory about the divide between Gen Xers and millennials.
... electrifying ... that’s where Daum’s going — right to the messy part, where dinner party conversations go to die ... there are few apologies in these 'eight chapters of method-driven meandering,' with 'occasionally inflamed, possibly unhinged gut reactions' (part of the fun, and terror) ... Daum’s analysis of college 'rape culture' should make everyone (at least, Democrats of all ages) unhappy.
A brilliant and witty personal essayist, Daum injects the personal here too ... Daum is far from an all-out Peterson supporter, but her suggestion he has anything reasonable to say will make some dismiss her outright, thereby highlighting her nuance point, part of which is that it’s not necessary to buy into an ideology wholesale ... Daum’s taking-on of the excesses and hypocrisies of #MeToo, gaslighting, intersectionality, cancel culture and the commodification of feminism — nay, the very suggestion that such excesses and hypocrisies exist — will inevitably, wearyingly, rub some the wrong way, and they will say so, especially online, perhaps with an eyeroll GIF. Through my own decidedly Gen-X lens, The Problem with Everything never struck me as contrarian, but rather as a cri de coeur: a brave, necessary and, yes, nuanced, corrective.
Daum’s attraction to exploring whatever can’t be said in public—which she instinctively feels must be the truth, and not just our worst impulses—has at last led her astray ... Reading this book is like reading Twitter for hours on end, which is what Daum admits she has spent most of the past few years doing. Daum has, in the past, been a near-perfect chronicler of the texture of her own experience. The experience she describes most often in this book is the experience of sitting in front of a computer, alone. The most galling moments in The Problem with Everything are the ones that make me wistful for what might have been possible if Daum had pushed herself to go beyond her immediate responses to the outrageous events of the past three years ... Daum is so brilliant that I’m still shocked she hasn’t considered that congratulating yourself for toughness is much less important than making a world where [women's] toughness isn’t necessary ... It’s disappointing, on a personal level ... Since anatomizing her own self-delusions has always been her greatest strength as a writer, it’s also a professional failing.