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Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour Paperback – July 27, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When actor and writer Shukert realizes her passport was never stamped on her entry into Europe, as an ensemble-cast member in a New York–based play on tour, she decides to take advantage and string her vacation along indefinitely. After the show’s stints in Vienna and Zurich, Shukert stays (squats might be more appropriate) with two friends in Amsterdam. Indeed underfunded and overexposed, Shukert’s life as an expat in the so-called Venice of the North provides lots of hilarious fodder for the memoir it will become. Shukert possesses a certain talent to find the funny in almost any situation, and her shockingly personal and irreverent writing makes for many laughs, but not at the cost of losing our sympathy in the face of her deepest disappointments. She breaks up the narrative frequently with sidebar tips for the European traveler (Emergency Room and When Someone Mistakes You for a Prostitute, for example). While those searching for a pithy, informative travelogue might roll their eyes, others will appreciate this entertaining and very current meditation on what it means to be a young American artist abroad. --Annie Bostrom

Review

"[Shukert] takes gleeful flight, abasing herself with a zeal reminiscent of Chelsea Handler...She nails the despair that assails so many innocents (or not-so-innocents) abroad." --(The New York Times)

“Rachel Shukert manages to do something almost unprecedented in the female travelogue subgenre: she is funny.” (The New Yorker)

“Rachel Shukert’s memoir is more than just ‘girl-gone-overseas’; it’s a hilarious, brave and surprisingly piercing work of art.” (Diablo Cody, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Juno)

“[Everything is Going to be Great] comes off like a cross between David Sedaris and Chuck Palahniuk….lurking beneath the jabs and one-liners is an affecting—and pretty unforgettable—coming-of-age tale.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“[Shukert’s] wit is pitch-perfect and amusingly self-conscious….The story itself spans continents, but the consistency with which Shukert perceives everything anchors and enlivens wherever her antics land her.” (Nylon Magazine)

“Rachel Shukert’s new memoir Everything Is Going To Be Great does something unfortunately rare in women’s writing: celebrating mistakes….what Everything affirms is that screwing up from time to time—or even a lot—doesn’t make you a terrible person.” (Jezebel)

“Thoroughly enjoyable.” (Time Out New York)

“A great summer read for anyone who likes funny ladies—or who has a friend who is threatening to give it all up to teach English in Prague. This should stop them cold.” (The Daily Beast)

“Shukert possesses a certain talent to find the funny in almost any situation, and her shockingly personal and irreverent writing makes for many laughs….[an] entertaining and very current meditation on what it means to be a young American artist abroad.” (Booklist)

“The humor with which [Shukert] recounts her experiences allows her work to transcend beyond the cliché of overseas-love-affairs-gone-awry….An entertaining and often laugh-out-loud—though not altogether atypical—story of soul-searching abroad.” (Kirkus)

“If you read only one memoir by a disaffected, urban, 20-something Jewish girl this year, make it this one. Shukert rocks the lulav.” (Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan)

“Everything Is Going to Be Great is full of smartly observed cultural detail, sexual misadventure, heartbreak, and helpful tips. This outrageous and hilarious memoir will make you laugh, gasp, and occasionally squirm—sometimes all three at once. A weird and wonderful read.” (J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Commencement)

“Shukert is a hugely funny, wildly smart, and menacingly original writer. I don’t much care for leaving the house, but if I were ever to travel, I’d want to do it in book form and alongside Rachel, who has one billion crazy stories set in foreign lands, all beautifully told.” (Julie Klausner, author of I Don’t Care About Your Band)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780061782350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061782350
  • ASIN: 0061782351
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,848,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rachel Shukert is very, very funny. I laughed out loud several times while I was reading this book. The writing is clever with a little bit of edge. But just as an FYI, the book mostly takes place in Amsterdam, with short stops in other cities. If you've been to the Netherlands, you may find this book even more amusing than the average reader.

Shukert takes us through her days as a young college graduate struggling to make it in the theatre world in New York City and with a traveling performance group that stops off in Zurich and Vienna. Following that, she settles in Amsterdam with some friends, and this is where the bulk of the book is set. She has a real knack for pointing things out that will make you say "Oh yeah, I remember that". One example is her mention of the ubiquitous Dutch chocolate sprinkles used for breakfast toast. But the best thing about her writing (besides the humor) is her very well-developed self-awareness. She seems fully cognizant that her trials and tribulations are largely of her own making. She accepts this, she doesn't apologize for it. In other hands, this book might not come off as so endearing.

Bottom line is that this book is funny as can be. I don't want to sound like the MPAA, but beware if you not are not a fan of 4-letter words and adult sexual situations.
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Exceptionally well written, funny, shrewd and touching book. Shukert has a keen eye for detail and sharp wit. This is like "Eat, Pray, Love" for the generation that doesn't read books, but does go to see movies. If ever there was a laugh-out-loud version of "Rochelle, Rochelle" - the young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk - this might be it. OK, maybe Shukert never makes it to Minsk, but she does give Europe a good whirl. I'm looking forward to the film version of this, and in the meantime reading her first book: Have You No Shame?: And Other Regrettable Stories
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I really enjoyed this book. Rachel is pretty frank about her flaws and it makes for some pretty funny reading. I found it to be more compelling than many recent memoirs. It was more cohesive than many of the recent blog turned memoir books that seem to be so prevalent today. I was definitely interested in seeing how the story would unfold and found myself kind of "cheering" for Rachel as the book came to an end. Despite her narcissistic qualities and a tendency toward self-absorption, I couldn't help but like Rachel (and her mom). It's not going to win the Booker Prize, but I liked it a hell of a lot better than many books that did win one.
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i wanted to like this book, the idea was funny and the travel seemed interesting but alas it was incredibility self indulgent. I found her so annoying, self centered, and a brat. While she might have grown up to be a fine person, the college version of herself she writes about was hard for me to bare. I left this book at a coffee shop when i finished it, knowing I didn't even want to care it home with me.
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1 book I read'Everything Is Going To Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour by Rachel Shukert

2 words that describe the book'Sex Memoir (NOT so much a travel memoir as you might think)

3 setting where the book took place or characters I met

* Setting: Primarily Vienna and Amsterdam, Modern Day

* Rachel Shukert is a Jewish girl from Omaha who moves to New York City to make it as an actress. She is broke and barely getting by when she finally gets her "big break"--working for a temperamental director in an off-Broadway play that eventually has a European run in Vienna. After the play closes, Rachel decides to stay with friends in Amsterdam. After all, why not be broke and miserable in Europe instead New York?

* During Rachel's adventures, we get to meet a colorful cast of characters, including: Berthold ("an Austrian photographer old enough to be my father"); Mattijs and Jeroen (a gay couple who allow Rachel to live in their tiny apartment in Amsterdam); Marco, Ivan and Enzo (Italians--one of whom is an amateur dentist and two of whom are sex-crazed possible sex traffickers); Pete (Rachel's lover and possible boyfriend except for the little business of him having a girlfriend and possibly being a psycho); and Ben (potential husband material).

4 things I liked or disliked about the book

* This book is f#*@ing hilarious! BUT if you blanched when you saw the F word (even typed with nonsense characters), this book isn't for you. It is raunchy, dirty, irreverent, bawdy and wonderfully scatological. In other words, not for everyone. But if this kind of stuff doesn't bother you, you'll be spitting drinks out your nose from laughing and saying "OH NO SHE DIDN'T" as you read along.
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I didn't realize I'd read this book before, until I got about halfway through. The title is really a misnomer - it's more about her time living in Amsterdam, not about traveling around Europe. It's also not a travelogue. It's about an American who goes to live in Holland with her two (Dutch) best friends and about her loneliness. The back cover seems to make a big deal about the not-having-a-visa, and that doesn't really open her to any grand adventures, in my opinion - I think this is more of an embellishment. I've been in France without a passport stamp and that certainly didn't grant me unimpeded access to all of Europe! Once you cross the border, as she did, you have to get a new visa. Anyway.

Shukert is funny, so it's an enjoyable read, even the second time around. But it's not what I expected - a travelogue - but more of a memoir.
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