30 May 2009

It didn't suck but I didn't cry either

I'm pretty sure when I joined the Internet I signed a statement forcing me to comment on books by blogging A-listers. So about Heather Armstrong of Dooce's memoir IT SUCKED AND THEN I CRIED: The blog is better. Can you take the cuffs off now?

IT SUCKED... follows Armstrong's first pregnancy, the birth of her daughter Leta (now 5) and her struggles with post-partum depression. Dooce.com, for the 5 people on the Internet who are not familiar yet, began before Armstrong was a parent or even married, and gained its author notoriety when she was fired for writing about work. But "getting dooced" does not a popular blog make, even though it helped Armstrong gain exposure; instead it took a magic formula of "regular, interesting content" and "online marketing." What I'm saying is, I don't begrudge Armstrong for being able to support her family from Dooce, even if at heart I am a "web-based writer" mindlessly going on the attack.

Non-readers of Dooce will probably enjoy IT SUCKED AND THEN I CRIED more than I did. Even though I wasn't reading it regularly when the events described in the book happened, I was comfortable with the style, and there are some very funny scenes (including one involving Norah Jones and a purloined bottle of wine). But overall, it just didn't either captivate me or make me laugh like her hatemail responses or that time she compared her marriage to "Rob & Big." Normally the danger in a blog-to-book adaptation is that not enough new material is added to the blog, but in Armstrong's case I think she didn't pull enough from the blog that I was able to recognize the narrative I'd read before and get some context on it. Most of it I found forgettable, except the graphic bits about pregnancy which will give me medically-themed nightmares.

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