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I Totally Meant to Do That Paperback – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307464636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307464637
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"What is it about North Carolina? First they gave us David Sedaris. Now they’ve produced Jane Borden. She’s charming, polite and, yes, very funny."
—A.J. Jacobs

"The classic story of Country Club mouse meets City mouse, a sweet reminder of what it feels like to be new in New York."
—Amy Poehler

"If you took Mark Twain, shaved the mustache, added lady parts, and dropped him in present-day Manhattan, he’d wind up writing this fabulous book. Instead, the universe provided Jane Borden, who nailed it."
—Ed Helms

"Reading this charming and zany debut, I just wanted to hug Jane Borden. Out of all the North Carolina greenhorns who ever navigated the funky streets of 21st century New York, she may  be my favorite. And she can write a sentence too!"
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

"I love how sincere Jane is while being every bit as funny as comedy writers who are detached and ironic. This is a deeply personal and hilarious love letter to both New York City and the south. I never thought I'd say those words."
—Mike Birbiglia, author of Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories

About the Author

JANE BORDEN has contributed to Saturday Night Live, the New York Times Magazine, Comedy Central, VH1, Time Out New York, Modern Bride, and the New York Daily News. This is her first book; to find out where she lives, you'll have to read it.

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Bravo, Jane Borden!
little penguin
Only down-side to the book was the last story, which got a little hard to follow and a little too introspective for me.
R. Ballister
Jane's experiences are realistic, and she has a rare talent for relating her thoughts in a refreshing way.
W. Easley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By VReviews VINE VOICE on April 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jane Borden spent about a decade in New York City doing what apparently many a college graduate southerner does, and that is simply continue the "frat" life in the city that never sleeps. Jane divided her autobiography into three sections (Dive, Sink, Surface) to delineate the major epochs of her life in the big city. Within each section are chapters that are more or less stand alone short stories, rather than a fully conceptualized development of her experiences and reflections as she grapples with the dichotomies between New York and North Carolina.

In the first section aptly titled "Dive", Jane's dialogue is full of visual interest, and laugh-out-loud moments that will have you fully engaged as she literally seems to dive into a completely different life-style with North Carolina mores as her compass.

At the start of the second section titled "Sink", Jane relates the story about her Aunt Jane and the manners book. Here we begin to really get a feel for the differences between New York, and small town North Carolina. We also, get a glimpse of Jane's working and social life in New York. So there is an expectation that you're about to understand who Jane is beyond the surface. But that depth never comes, and with each subsequent chapter, Jane becomes oddly more and more distance as a person. As each chapter seems more random and haphazard, Jane begins to rely almost exclusively on her Thesaurus to form sentences. So awkward does the story telling become, that by the time the third section "surfaces", you really don't know who this person is, nor do you care.

The concept of this book was a great one, as was the promise of the first chapters; but the execution of the novel as a whole fell short, and really ended up as more of an outline of what a more accomplished writer might do. There never was a section titled "Swim", and that is appropriate here, for this story never quite does.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Billie Vanderburg VINE VOICE on April 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a Southerner born and bred and spent 2 years living 'up North' so I was eager to read this memoir and get Jane's perspective on the two cultures at variance. It was mildly entertaining but I found myself wanting to skip over some paragraphs that just seemed to be page fillers without any true context to the story (vignette) being told. There was too much detail to some stories and not nearly enough to others. I loved the 'Aunt Jane' stories possibly because I had an 'Aunt Marie' who was so similar. Her recollections reminded me of things my (also childless) aunt would tell me and my two sisters: "Ladies don't sweat", "You need to use a little more eyebrow color", "A few highlights in your hair wouldn't hurt at all", "It looks like you have gained a couple of pounds since I saw you last, you know you better watch that". We loved her dearly, but that is just the kind of things Aunts say in the South - they are family. So I guess I wish there were more family stories. We are never really introduced to any of her friends or roommates in NYC and I firmly believe we are known by the company we keep so I didn't feel like I got to know Jane. I found the book to be amusing and there were some funny moments, but after I read it, I wanted to ask 'So?'

I will pass this book along to a young friend (also from 'the South') who is currently living up in NYC and loving every minute of it. Maybe she will have a different perspective and can will share her opinion.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frederick S. Goethel VINE VOICE on March 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Being a New Englander originally, and having a wife who was raised in the South, I get the premise of the book, as well as the "jokes" she tells. She expected to sow her wild oats in New York for a while and then move back to North Carolina to settle down. A lot of students from the South do that.

That she stayed in New York for a much longer period than expected is not a story in itself, nor is the fact that she is torn between living in New York and North Carolina. I haven't lived in New England in well over 20 years, and I still miss it, but that doesn't make for a compelling story. Yes, some of her escapades were humorous, but as another reviewer said....she's no Mark Twain.

The book is well written, but lacks any real connective issues. It wasn't for me, but maybe it will be for you.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Diane B. Wilkes VINE VOICE on February 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While Ed Helms' endorsement of I TOTALLY MEANT TO DO THAT by Jane Borden made me consider taking a chance on this book, my real motivation was more complex. I'm a Philly-bred University of North Carolina-Wannabe. I admire everything about the Tar Heels Basketball team, in particular Dean Smith's legacy. One of my realized missions in life was going to Chapel Hill and visit the UNC Basketball Museum and I am as proud of the class my team shows off the court as if I reared (as opposed to raised) them myself. I have even adopted a contempt for all things Duke. So a book written by a UNC graduate exploring her adopted city and contrasting it with her North Carolinian lifestyle had a certain allure for me.

Borden is a delightful writer--witty, sincere, self-deprecating, and entertaining. Her essays on the differences between NC and NYC (much more pronounced than just the difference of the one little letter Y) culture are dead on, and written with good intent towards both. For Borden, living in NYC means the freedom to not just seek adventure, but to do so with anonymity--something never afforded her in her hometown. There are positives and negatives in the frenetic chaos of NYC and the meticulous order of the elegant hot-house culture of Greensboro high society (a term I never imagined using).

As Borden continued to (Harris) teeter-totter between the two lifestyles, I thought she'd finally marry NYC, because she disclosed such detailed accounts of her grimy, sloppy and occasionally dangerous living standards. Who wants to return home in shame? But she was careful to avoid almost any mention of her romantic life which seems to me a hedging of bets. I, personally, was grateful--most books of this nature are saturated with endless anecdotes of every step of disastrous mating dances.
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