Havrilesky’s grand pronouncements are so sweeping and so numerous... they quickly cease to arouse strong feelings of assent or disagreement ... the self-help framework — the stentorian assertions of diagnosis and cure — does Havrilesky a disservice. She can be a warm and funny writer, a savvy close reader, idiosyncratic, urbane. Her advice column stands out not so much for its practical guidance but for the empathy in which she wraps her message of self-empowerment — and for its comic riffs ... When Havrilesky ditches the forced affinity of 'we' for the more modest claims of 'I,' she has some poignant things to say. She is good at wresting fresh nuance from familiar touchstones, and arranging them into incisive, opinionated narratives.
She updates the columnist’s stock Q&A format with a collection of more roving, labile essays. Not quite venturing 'advice' per se, but brimming with the author’s warmly diagnostic and incisive voice, the pieces crystallize as potent blends of cultural critique, memoir, and anecdote, which take a scalpel to the inured surface of modern American life.