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Everything Is Wrong with Me: A Memoir of an American Childhood Gone, Well, Wrong Paperback – March 2, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061766658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061766657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,578,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blogger Mulgrew, an Irish Catholic son of working-class South Philly, grew up in the early 1980s. In his irreverent, self-deprecating, but frequently funny first book, based on his blog, he revisits his childhood and adolescence. Following in the footsteps of his storytelling father, who hung out with other guys in dive bars, the author encountered (and makes somewhat cursory use of) characters like the local kleptomaniac, a neighbor's teenaged uncle, who expanded on lessons in hustling previously laid down by a numbers-running grandfather, and the friend who launched further escapades in both entrepreneurship and juvenile pyromania. Mulgrew doesn't dwell sentimentally on his parents' rocky relationship, and in comparison to the seemingly endless run of adventures in ersatz jock-and-studhood, there's relatively little about his mother or his siblings. Instead, the book takes readers deep into a traditional, working-class social world where sports, Jackass-type pranks, and loyalty reigned. True to the lad-lit form and content, the narrative is often downright crude, with a Maxim-article tone. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Mulgrew’s loose collection of 1980s and ’90s childhood anecdotes and mining of familial dysfunction (designed to “throw my family under the bus so that I can buy a high-def TV and force them to cut off contact with me for the rest of my life”) clearly subscribes to the Sedaris school of memoir writing. The stories range from his youthful coming to terms with the inadequacy of his penis to an ode to late-night drunken hooker spotting, but the most memorable character turns out to be his hard-drinking, quasi-criminal father. Mostly, though, the book functions as a collection of chapter-length bar yarns—the kind that come out when only the hardiest of livers are left—with little attention paid to continuity or organization and a lot to nailing self-deprecatory zingers, which come in two flavors: booze (too much) and sex (not enough). Mulgrew, a popular blogger, is a tremendously entertaining and affable writer as long as you’re not expecting anything revelatory and don’t mind wallowing with him in his shamelessly, cheerfully puerile tendencies. --Ian Chipman

Customer Reviews

I literally laughed out loud reading this book numerous times.
Ok, so here's maybe why not: I really like informal writing; I don't need to read great works of literature by stuffy authors.
Lindsay Briggs
Jason Mulgrew is a great storyteller and with this book has shared some hilarious stories from his life.
C. Tobias

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Conneely on March 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'll preface my review with the fact that I was skeptical about another blogger's first effort as a published novelist, especially a memoir. Having been a regular reader of JasonMulgrew.com and really enjoying it for years, I figured this purchase was like payback for all the hilarious stories that have been a welcome respite from life's day to day, mundane moments.

Ok, so now onto the book. Wow! I am happily surprised and very impressed with Jason's storytelling, subject matter, fantastic humor and the fact that this is not just a replication of his blog posts over the years. Although I do think that could have potentially worked.

I highly urge readers both familiar and especially unfamiliar with his writing style to give this book a well deserved read. Readers will really definitely enjoy his take on youth and many should appreciate the subject matter, which is highly reliant on a son's relationship with his father. As a fan of Jonathan Ames novels, a Confederacy of Dunces and anything that shows humorous worldviews, I welcome this writing effort which shows an underreported slice of Philly.

I believe this first effort will likely not be the last we hear from Jason. An update to this will likely occur as afterthoughts of this book occur to me. Also, I'd appreciate any recommendations of similar reads to this, which will satisfy me need for well written humor. Enjoy!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like most other reviewers, I am a fan of Jason's blog, mostly because of his completely inappropriate over-sharing and willingness to discuss his bird. I also enjoy stories of ludicrously dysfunctional families and those who survive them (having done so myself) so I was really looked forward to the book. I got it and tore through it in short order. I was disappointed to realize I was really disappointed. I even re-read a few chapters to be sure it wasn't simply me having overly high expectations, but the stories still fell flat. I couldn't figure out why.

It's been a few weeks now and I think I've figured it out: Either he's too young or I'm too old. Or both.

I am convinced Jason -- at the ripe old age of 30 -- is still too close to his past to get a really meaningful perspective on it. He almost gets there a few times, but overall the project is missing some crucial things; time, distance, and another couple hundred whacks upside the head by the Baseball Bat of Life. Even another ten years would have helped. Twenty probably would have been perfect.

As for me being too old (yeah, I'm 50) I'm thinking I'm too old to appreciate Jason's limited perspective on his youth. He's still too close to it to have gained the insight necessary to give the stories their full measure of... ridiculousness.

Also, I am not sure if he really did bang this thing out right at the deadline as he said, but it did kind of read like it. Another couple of drafts (of the book, not beers) might also have helped.

So even though this book just didn't get me there, I think he's funny as hell and I hope he tries again in a couple of decades.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Reluctant Hater on December 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
...but it was just a giant, stinking literary turd. Having really enjoyed Jason's blog in the past, I bought this book as a gift for my husband, who deemed it "unreadable" after the first two chapters. I wish I had given up so quickly myself, because I now mourn those hours of my life that I can never get back. Clearly the author does not realize that the primary (and let's face it, only) appeal of his blog is the poop/excessive drinking/micropenis jokes, which are scarce in the book. Jason Mulgrew tells a mean small bird joke, but he is otherwise just a terrible writer. His attempts to write with insight about religion, class, family, etc. just fall flat. Truly, this is the worst book I have read without "Sweet Valley" in the title.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Robison on May 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Mulgrew's blog for a number of years. In spite of his promises to the contrary, I bought this book expecting a rehash of his best ideas and stories from the blog. I was pleasantly surprised to find the only holdover from the blog to be the style, as all the material was new (at least to me). Though it was a relatively quick read, I found it densly packed with humor, and laughed out loud often throughtout the book. If you like the blog, the book is very much worth the money (it's cheap!) and time (you'll breeze through it and finish wanting more).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michele Beach on March 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always listened to older people talk about what it was like growing up for them, and I thought it sounded so much better/cooler/more interesting/crime-laden/etc. then the 80's and into the early 90's. My childhood was admittedly very different from Jason's, but I had never considered that the kinds of things we did could be told in a way that evokes the same nostalgia and appreciation for the old days...from sneaking peaks at porn channels on stolen cable to chubby kids marvelling at the huge advances in video games that happened in our pre-teen years, I felt like Jason's book not only made me remember parts of my childhood but long for them...sure you might have a passing warm feeling thinking of whatever childhood memory some dumbass makes a facebook fanpage/group to remind you of, but this was real, like listening to grandparents reminisce...but it was about things I remember. Very cool.
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More About the Author

Jason Mulgrew is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Everything Is Wrong with Me. His blog of the same name has received more than 200 million hits since its inception (though he is now semi-retired from blogging). His next book, 236 Pounds of Class Vice President, will be released in February 2013, and will blow your ass out.

Originally from Philadelphia, Jason lives in New York City, where he really wants to get a dog so he can name it Sussudio.

Visit his blog at www.jasonmulgrew.com. For speaking engagements and/or sexual dances, he can be reached at jason@jasonmulgrew.com.

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