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Review: Everything Sucks

November 13, 2009


Hannah Friedman’s parents are what I like to call free spirits.  Her dad is a not quite successful hippie musician and her mom is a former animal trainer who has taken in a monkey that is treated like a member of the family.  They did off-beat things like build a car to resemble a shoe and take Hannah and her brother out of school for a year to join them on a band tour of England.

Hannah is very bright and hard working, but had a lot of trouble fitting in socially in middle school.  Thinking that she would fit in better at a prep school, Hannah applied, and was accepted to one of the most prestigious schools in the country.  She felt like she had a fresh start and worked hard at being cool and found that she was!  She was part of the popular crowd, she was class president and she had a cool, older boyfriend.  But along with all of that, she developed a drug habit and an eating disorder.  She also felt like she was watching her life instead of living it.

Thankfully, Hannah saw how self-destructive her habits were and how shallow her “friends” were before it was too late to change her life.  When she began her college career, she was thrilled when someone from her past recognized her and called her “Monkey Girl” – a name she used to despise.

It took me a few chapters to get into Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman, but once I did, I couldn’t put the book down!   Hannah is brutally honest in her memoir and I really got attached to her and her misguided attempts to fit in.  I was appalled by the actions of some of the girls in this book and can’t help but wonder why adults dismiss such behavior.  This book made me realize just how much more difficult it is to grow up in today’s society than it was back in the dark ages of my youth.

I think everyone who has a child (especially a daughter) approaching high school should read Everything Sucks.  There is some language, drug use and sexual situations in it, but I think it presents a very realistic picture of what young people of today face.   I also think students who are struggling to fit in may find some comfort in this book because it shows that fitting in isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  In case you’ve missed the trailer for this great book, here it is:

Review copy provided by the author.   I am an Amazon Associate.
35 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2009 6:25 am

    As I read your review, I assumed that this was a novel—such a set up, I thought. Then to realize that this was all true. Wow. What a life. What a series of obstacles to overcome.

  2. November 13, 2009 6:27 am

    I’m going to have to write this one down. Mine is in middle school right now, and I am frankly horrified at the things said at this age (AND in a Catholic school!). It scares me to death when I think about my daughter navigating through this mess. It was hard enough when I was young. And for all the pearls of wisdom I think I can impart to help her, she thinks I know nothing!

  3. November 13, 2009 7:47 am

    Sounds like an intense but good book.

  4. November 13, 2009 7:57 am

    sounds interesting…but i can’t break my no memoir rule!

  5. November 13, 2009 8:02 am

    Great review! I will try and get a copy of this one. I would like to read it.

  6. November 13, 2009 8:58 am

    Nice review. Sounds like an interesting book.

  7. November 13, 2009 9:09 am

    Thanks for the trailer! It’s excellent. I’ve been interested in this book for awhile. Thanks for your review.

  8. November 13, 2009 9:30 am

    I also wondered whether this was a novel or memoir initially. It is interesting that a child of free thinking-hippish” parents would crave the exact opposite in an elite prep school environment.

    This sounds like a terrific memoir (and I love the genre). I’m putting this on my Amazon wishlist.

  9. November 13, 2009 9:45 am

    I’m glad to hear this is good – it’s also in my TBR pile!

  10. November 13, 2009 10:37 am

    This one intrigues me (I’ve heard about it before). I love memoirs, which quite surprises me, because until I started book blogging I never picked one up!

  11. November 13, 2009 11:28 am

    Glad to hear it’s a good one, as I’ll be reading it soon. Books like these make me want to keep my daughter locked up until she’s 75 (or longer LOL)!


  12. November 13, 2009 11:32 am

    ahhh, the teen years. not as glorious as i’d like to remember them.

    i work with teenagers at a private high school on a daily basis and have to say that i see much more good than bad. the kids at my school are just looking for attention rather than possessions.

    yes, the demographic is very affluent and the kids have lots of “stuff” (nice cars, the best phones, clothes, etc) but what they really want is to be heard, find his or her place, and be appreciated.

    this memoir (my favorite genre) sounds like a great read and i’m adding it to my list. after reading, i may even suggest it to some students!

  13. November 13, 2009 12:27 pm

    You did a great job on this review. I didn’t realize until the end that this was a memoir. Good writing.

  14. November 13, 2009 1:07 pm

    I absolutely love the title.

  15. November 13, 2009 1:16 pm

    Sme days everthing can suck!! Looks like a good book!

  16. November 13, 2009 1:29 pm

    I’ll have to find this one and read it; anything to get more insight into the kind of life my 16-year-old daughter is leading!

  17. November 13, 2009 1:35 pm

    Wow! This author had a very off-beat childhood! (I wanted a chimpanzee as a pet when I was a child.) The trailer’s good and the book sounds fascinating. Thanks for your review.

  18. November 13, 2009 1:35 pm

    I definitely want to read it since I am a mom of a pre-teen daughter, but it sounds like it might be an eye-opener for me! Great review!

  19. Elizabeth S. permalink
    November 13, 2009 2:08 pm

    Fab review, Kathy!

    I love her trailer- I hadn’t even seen it although I read the book after I saw it in the Week a few months back. A really compelling, really well written read!

    Take care,

  20. November 13, 2009 2:34 pm

    I don’t know if I’m ready for this much of an eye-opener. It might be too brutally honest for me.

  21. November 13, 2009 2:41 pm

    This book sounds really interesting and the fact that it’s a memoir makes me more inclined to read it.

    Glad you were able to get into it and then liked it!
    Great review, Kathy.

  22. November 13, 2009 2:48 pm

    I definitely want to read this. It sounds like a book that might make me glad we homeschool. *Sigh*

  23. November 13, 2009 3:35 pm

    I applaud her for writing her story. I think I had it much easier growing up than kids today too. Some of my friends were loose, but not that loose.
    Good review Thanks B!

  24. November 13, 2009 4:43 pm

    I really enjoyed this account of a teen trying so hard to fit in with the cool kids. The author is so honest and forthcoming in her story. I think it is great that she worked so hard to be so different from her “odd” parents, yet when you read the book and watch her videos on you tube, you can see what a wonderful influence they had on her.

  25. November 13, 2009 5:04 pm

    I really want to read this one!

  26. stacybuckeye permalink
    November 13, 2009 6:39 pm

    I think this book looks fantastic.

  27. November 13, 2009 7:33 pm

    I do believe that this is a great read but for some reason I’m feeling burned out on memoirs…but I will put it on my list for future reads!

  28. November 13, 2009 9:50 pm

    I like the cover and the title!

  29. November 14, 2009 5:58 am

    I had to laugh at the title! Great review, though. 🙂

  30. November 16, 2009 12:51 am

    This sounds like another good book to read. I have just finished one written by a young woman in her 2os relating her story on fighting depression in her teens due to expectations from other people. Such books are often thought provoking and makes a meaningful read. Thanks for sharing this one, Kathy!

  31. November 16, 2009 3:56 pm

    This sounds like a really unusual story, and one I’d like very much to read. My daughter is in middle school right now, and we are going through some problems with her fitting in as well, so I think this book would be a bit inspirational and eye opening for me. Thanks for this review, this one goes to the top of the list.

  32. November 16, 2009 10:15 pm

    Wow! Our elder daughter will be in high school next year (where did THAT time go?!). You know I love personal memoir; thanks for the recommendation, Kathy.

  33. November 17, 2009 8:12 pm

    I’ve heard several things about this memoir lately. Today’s high school society can be almost barbaric. Especially around bigger cities it seems. The high school I went to wasn’t too bad but the one my cousin graduated from in the next town over Hannah’s friends would have probably fit right in.

  34. November 18, 2009 10:35 am

    This sounds like a very interesting memoir. Thanks for the review!

  35. November 24, 2009 8:23 pm

    I read Bibliofreak’s review of this book on her blog and thought it sounded good and now I’m even more convinced.

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