Source: Sacramento Library
Rating: 5 out of 10
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Book Club: Six Ladies and a Baby
Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble): Humorist Valerie Frankel had heard all the talk about toxic emotions, but when she was hit by health problems and a career crisis, she knew that she had had enough. With feelings of rage coming to a boil, she decided to express all the negative emotions that she had been working so hard (and so ineffectively) to suppress. Out came the emotions; jealousy, envy, impatience, greed, unbridled hate. It’s Hard Not to Hate You might not cure you of all the bad things in your life, but it should make you less uptight about dealing with them.
Overall Impression: I expected I’d like this more than I did. I’m not sure I was in the right place to read it. While I thought that this book might help my crummy mood by “helping me get the hate out,” I found it just made me uncomfortable. Instead of funny and sarcastic, sometimes I felt she was petty and ungrateful. Sometimes it felt “look how awesome I am.” There were some parts that were generally funny and felt universally true, but those moments didn’t come often enough. I’m not sure if releasing my “inner bitch” is really the right thing to do (then again, I don’t seem to be handling my stress very well lately, so maybe it might help?). I guess I just come from the positive attitude mindset — not that I need to fake it all the time, but that when I dwell on the positive and the good things in life, I tend to be a happier person. And the opposite is true as well. I happened to pick up The Happiness Project right after this one, and it’s hard not to compare the two. I think I’d rather try my own Happiness Project than a Hater Project.
As far as her writing goes, Frankel’s writing is sharp and she has a keen eye for what’s going on around her and how to parlay that into a good essay. The essays are a little mish-mashed together, but I thought that she did a good job of keeping her theme all the way through. Her family ends up coming off very likable, though I’m not sure if I can say the same for Frankel herself.
Positives: This may be the perfect book for someone who is tired of always being nice.
Negatives: I just didn’t love the premise, and it made it hard to like the book.
Other books I’ve read by Valerie Frankel: none
Other blogger opinions:
Write Meg!: “It was nice to read a book that felt like a personal address to me, but that doesn’t mean it’s a book for everyone (what book is?).”
Bella’s Novella: “…Frankel now uses anger, jealousy and impatience as tools to be a better, balanced and deeper person. IT’S HARD NOT TO HATE YOU sends the message that there are no wrong emotions, only wrong ways of dealing with them.”
Feathered Quill: “You’ll discover your own “inner hater” but, in the end, we all learn that we need to be true to ourselves and let the chips fall where they may.”