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Staff Picks

Little Weirds

Emily Porter

February 13, 2020

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Jenny Slate has written an amazingly creative and honest book that touches on life's woes, the ups and downs of her career, her relationships, and grappling with who she is as a human being.

Oh, Jenny Slate. 

I was incredibly intrigued, and thrilled, when I saw Slate had written a book, especially when I read the title: Little Weirds. Yes, please. While reading Little Weirds and writing this review, I may have also watched Obvious Child and her new Netflix special—basically having  a full out Jenny Slate weekend. 

The way Slate thinks makes me want to be a fly on the wall in her brain. She exudes delicate poise with an essence of “this is who the fuck I am,” and I for one bow down to this aura. Little Weirds is an amazingly creative and honest book that touches on life's woes, the ups and downs of her career, her relationships, and grappling with who she is as a human being.

I was born in a Shirley Temple, and came out with the stem of the cherry in my small, strong new hand and I walked that cherry like a dog. I was born ready to care for a pet and be a pet too.

I was born like that.

As someone who also grew up in halls of whisps and translucent voices, I was elated to read about her ghostly house in the backwoods of Maine. By the by, her and her father wrote a book about their haunted house, entitled, This House, and yes I am in the process of acquiring the book because it is an obvious must. 

Her imagination spawns a web of opulent, vivid scenes that I was more than willing to jump in and surrender into. She weaves intricate tales of the darkness we can find in life and scenarios she hopes we may one day find. She is so unapologetically herself, a quality that radiates through these pages as well as her comedy.

I’m setting the tone and the tone is this: There is a free, wild creature up here, and now you must think about how to take her in and keep her alive. This is the tone that is rippling through the pages up ahead.

Slate also shares lovely moments with her parents that are nearly lucid in their detail, such as:

Then she gave it to me to smell, and I sniffed in its honey-floral petal cone. It smelled like a fancy candy, and even though I’d smelled honeysuckle before, its scent pleasure-stung me anew, and I laughed a bit and said, “Unbelievable.” She knew I was talking about the gentle shock you can feel about how straightforward nature is in its generosity, its dizzyingly intricate offerings.

Not only did this sweet lil book make me love Jenny Slate even more than I already did, but it also made me appreciate how beautiful her mind is and how it has the power to evoke the imagination while making me want to experience everything she articulates. At least through this book, I can. She is quite a force, and her writing makes me hope she will grace us with a second and a third.

About The Author

Emily Porter is the newest member of the customer service team at Porchlight (the other two have each been with the company for over 20 years, so perhaps that isn’t a surprise). A film photographer and long-time film industry worker, she has had a constant love for books throughout her life. When not at work she enjoys curling up with her cats, adding to her bookshelves, practicing yoga, and seeing new landscapes. Travel. Cats. Coffee. Tea. Film. Books. RadioLab. National Geographic. Patti Smith. Dinosaurs.

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