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Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour Paperback – July 27, 2010
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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
"[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)
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
* At first glance, the book might seem like it is a travel memoir. Let me tell you, it is not. Sure, Rachel provides valuable information for travelers, including such gems as "The Swiss: Europe's Perverts," "Are You About to Be Sex-Trafficked?," "Where The F*#K Am I? A Guide to Dutch Street Names," as well as practical information on finding a dentist in Amsterdam with no health insurance or money. But, for the most part, this is a personal memoir that gets down and dirty about the realities of a single woman who isn't afraid to take chances on casual sex.
* I enjoyed how Rachel wrote about whatever struck her fancy--from imagining imaginary Amsterdam-set sitcoms to examining the peculiar relationships between Phil Collins and the Dutch. From the very start of the book, which includes a helpful guide about How To Use This Book (as a trivet, as substitute coasters, as Kleenex, as toilet paper, as sanitary napkins) and a guide for Assembling A Rachel Shukert Costume, you know you're not reading a conventional memoir that plays by the rules. The book is part comedic essay, part travel narrative, and part sex memoir--all rolled around in nice helping of curse words and irreverence.
* I really wanted to know who the big-time director was! I disliked that Rachel kept that information from me after being more than open about everything else. (But I suppose if I were more in the know about theater, I could have figured it out. Plus I suppose she has to watch out for potential lawsuits.)
5 stars or less for my rating:
I'm giving the book 4 stars. I thought it was a funny, fast read that had a generous ratio of laughs per page. However, if you're easily shocked or not comfortable with bawdy, raunchy, irreverence and a generous helping of four-letter words, this book might not be the best choice for you. If, however, you have low standards like me, check it out ... it was one of the more original and amusing memoirs I've read.
Rating: Between 2.5 stars and 3.
How I got this book: Sent to me by the awesome people at Harper Perennial
Why I read this: I'm obsessed with travelogues and was so excited because it about a girl who was a recent college grad and I figured I'd be able to live vicariously through her as a recent college grad myself!
This book and I had a love/hate relationship. I started this book and found myself loving it and then I hit a chunk where I wanted to fling at the wall and abandon it and then I got to a place where I didn't loathe it and then I found myself really enjoying it again.
I think that the subtitle is a little misleading. I had such high expectations for this being a travelogue lover. This was more a series of hilarious sexcapades in 2 countries rather than a "European Grand Tour." I was so excited about this book because I felt like Rachel and I were kindred spirits and that I'd connect with her plight--being a college grad, not knowing what you want in life, wanting to see the world and just generally being broke and wanting to find yourself. She was all that but I just didn't find myself connecting with her until maybe the end.
Let me tell you some GREAT things about this book: Rachel is hilarious and the girl can write! I was seriously laughing out loud and dying with some of her descriptions of people and things. I'm impressed by her ability to make something otherwise not that exciting or amusing become something that makes me snort iced tea out of my nose. I also appreciate how honest she is about herself. I connected with that. At first, I found myself rolling my eyes at her and not caring about her because I just thought she was selfish and never learning and growing, but I found myself gaining alot of respect for her and genuinely finding her to be likable. I also thought she was clever in adding all these hilarious "extras" like when you are reading a travel guide and it might have a little boxed off section for things like "how to order food or what to do at the airport." Instead, her "extras" were things like "Assembling Your Rachel Shukert costume" (with a full on diagram about the "tuck method if you are a male" or "Are You About To Be Sex Trafficked?". Really clever and hilarious sections.
Things I Didn't Like/Feel The Need to Warn You About: If you are the least bit offended by explicit sexual details or lots of vulgar language, skip this one! I wouldn't consider myself a prude but sometimes felt shocked or embarrassed by the details. This book can be raunchy, vulgar and she loves to describe and talk about male anatomy in great detail--chocolate ones, big ones, little ones, uncircumsized ones--penises all over the globe! Also, I didn't find myself DYING to pick this up. I was trying to finish it during Readathon because I needed the motivation to do it. I got tired of her sexcapades after a while but I will say that in the end she does redeem herself a little bit.
The final thought: In the end I was pretty disappointed with this book as whole. I'd recommend going into it without the expectation that it will be the travelogue of a college grad. Read it if you wished David Sedaris and Chelsea Handler had smart assed, hilariously hip child. Don't pick this book up if you will be offended by sex and foul language.
Most recent customer reviews
Enjoy travel much better. Just not my fast at all.