Another story in Wonderland

Well now! Amid one if the busier weeks I’ve had in a very long time at work, I managed to finish a second book! This was a short but very captivating memoir, so today you get a review!(I’m still trying to figure out my thoughts on The Lost Symbol, but I promise that one is coming!)

REVIEW: Graduates in Wonderland, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Published: 2014
Length: 285

Most Memorable Line(s): “I swear if one more person tells me to start a blog.”
Oh, the irony. This was my choice because it was SO memorable for me – how many times had I made that same comment before, voila, I sat down and started a blog and here I am now. Of the many things that I related to in this memoir, that line made me snort out loud (At work. Luckily my cube-mate had noise cancelling headphones on.)

So I won’t lie, I had roughly 400 words of a review typed out before I deleted it and knew I needed to start all over. This is me starting over.

This memoir was a roller coaster for me. Focusing on two best friends that have recently graduated from Brown and moved across the world from one another – Jess in Beijing, Rachel in NYC – it’s the story of their crazy international adventures, told through their own emails. They’d made a pact: emails once a week detailing their lives. Then they compiled them into this awesome memoir about love, friendship, and finding yourself in cities and countries across the globe. That sounds cheesy, and yes I wrote it myself. It was amazing. The reason? It was so. damn. true. (I hate that relatable is not a real word.) Something on every page resonated with me. During their first year abroad, both girls struggle a lot with finding a job, dealing with friendships, meeting guys. When I put the book down after reading it the first night, I was really, really sad. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the memoir brought me right back to the dark, dark feelings of loneliness I felt after graduating college and not being able to find a job. I didn’t even realize that I had connected so deeply to the book until I was reading it the next day and realized I was picturing me in their situations so incredibly clearly. These girls write beautifully, they’re extremely funny, and they’re so real. I’m sure their goal wasn’t initially to write a memoir, they just wanted to keep in touch, but damn are they real. Heartbreak, drunken nights, STD scares, they didn’t hold back. Through it all, I was reminded of the nights I’ve shared with the ones I love. It was pretty great. And I owe it all to a girl whose friendship reminds me of the one Jess and Rachel share – just without the international distance. (Although, upstate NY and Long Island are basically separate countries anyway…) This memoir made me understand WHY people read this genre in the first place – to read more interesting, hyper-realized (but still REAL) versions of what we all go through on a regular basis. I might really have to make Memoir March a thing this year…

Grade: 9/10 (Could it have been longer? Please? Also, I wish I lived overseas… Shaving points because I’m jealous and bitter. #sorrynotsorry)


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