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Dear Diary - Lesley Arfin, Chloë Sevigny

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This book was okay. I found it in the Little Free Lending Library, was drawn in by the interesting cover and cool diary-like book design, and figured, "Worth a shot". At first I thought it was a work of fiction as many "diary" books directed to young girls are. Then I actually read the description and realized it was a true story about a girl growing up who eventually gets addicted to heroin. Nothing to deter me yet.

Then I started reading.


I can't believe this was written by a 28-year-old. I'm a year younger than Arfin was when she wrote this book and feel like I can be much more insightful and introspective about my messed up little pre-teen self.

The book consists of actual diary entries from Arfin when she was growing up (middle school, high school, college, after college, rehab, rehab again, etc.) along with "updates" from her current self. These "updates" didn't necessarily give any insight, but just kind of explained who people were and what was going on. She more just deciphered her cryptic teenage language of "I hate my life" rather than reflect on her life and the events that got her where she is today. There are also "interviews" where she reconnects with people from her past. This mostly consist of her reminiscing about all the funny things that happened when she was high and not-at-all-subtly steering the conversation back to herself whenever the other person tries talking about their own lives. This is a common theme throughout the book: it's the Lesley Arfin Show and no one else is allowed to think, feel, or do anything. 

Writing-wise, I was surprised that Arfin has a degree in creative writing and is an actual writer who write actual articles. I'm fine with the appreciations and slang, but her writing just isn't very good. I'll leave it at that. 

Also, I'm not really sure what the point of this book was. From Chloe Sevigny's forward, I figured it would be a book for young girls to help them through all the horribleness of growing up female, complete with the bullying, peer pressure, and general mistake-making that go along with it. However, with advice like "If you really want to know what drugs are like, you should do them for yourself" and "My recommendation to younger girls who are having sex for the first few times: Get drunk", I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea of young girls using this as a guide or something to relate to. Yes, she talks about how horrible it was being addicted to heroin and all that, but she's pretty encouraging of other drugs and overall not-so-great decision making. Kids and teens are going to do drug and act irresponsibly anyway, no need to encourage them talking about how cool drug are.

This book is definitely not what I excepted. It was okay. There were little gems of insight tucked away in it, but nothing earth-shattering. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, because I don't think there's enough good in it to outweigh the bad, boring, and narcissistic in it.