Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You is an interesting book, written by Todd Hasak-Lowy.
This heartfelt novel told entirely in the lists tell the story of a boy’s impulsive road trip after receiving the shock of his lifetime. Darren hasn’t has an easy year. His parents got divorced, his older brother Nate left for collage, he feels like he’s only one without a girlfriend, and then one Thursday morning Darren’s dad shows up at his house at 6am with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world upside down.
In the middle of a freak out, Darren ditches school to go and visit Nate. But barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s place makes everything even more confusing. Darren is trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be and on top of that, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere by then totally disappeared. Sometimes, as Darren is about to find out, life becomes a little bit messy.
I was expecting amazing things from this book but I felt as though I didn’t quite get what I had hoped for. I initially loved the idea of this book being told entirely in the form of lists, but I soon discovered that it wasn’t effective. Maybe it was just the way this book was written and perhaps it would work with another book, but I didn’t feel connected to the characters and I felt as though this book just lacked a general plot. There was nothing that really compelled me to keep reading this book and I felt as though I could have put it down at any moment. It was interesting enough while I was reading it and it didn’t put me to sleep or anything, I just felt as though it lacked interest and it would have really benefited from positioning the reader to feel for the characters. I wanted to love this book, but instead I just felt a little let down by it.
There was one thing that I did like about this book. Even though this book was told entirely in the form of lists, which may be hard to comprehend if you haven’t read this book, it also managed to have dialogue and paragraphs and it vaguely symbolised the classic idea of a novel. It was interesting to see how the author managed to have an actual plot in the novel, even though it was a little hazy at times. Though I did manage to follow what was going on for the most part. However, I did feel as though a lot of the things in this book was very unnecessary. This book was over 600 pages because of how many lists it had, but most of it was blank space and unnecessary words. For example, sometimes the narrator just lists words he said or when he swore throughout a conversation. A lot of these things didn’t add anything to the story and this novel would have felt crisper and more succinct if these parts were taken out. Sure, a couple of these parts could still be included for entertainment purposes or to give the reader a laugh, but the amount of times I skimmed over pages simply because they were uninteresting was more than it should have been.
Darren wasn’t a very relatable or fascinating character to follow for the entire novel. He reminded me of practically every other young adolescent male in YA fiction. He described himself as ‘average’ and sometimes this can work to the characters advantage, for example, if something really interesting happens to them and makes them go from just ‘average’ to extraordinary. Take Harry from Harry Potter, for example. He started off as just an ‘average’ boy and described himself as ‘just Harry’, but he ended up being ‘the Chosen One’. If something like this happened to Darren, this book would have been 110% more interesting than it actually was. I think I actually liked Darren more at the beginning of the novel compared to at the end.
And now there’s something else I had a big problem in this book. It relates to Darren. If you’re thinking of reading this book, don’t read this paragraph because it contains a spoiler, but I just have to rant right now. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, avert your eyes to the below paragraph now please! Okay cool, so now that it should just be me with all of you who have read this book, or if you’re not planning on reading this book and you want to know why I’m so frustrated, welcome to my rant! So basically, the whole novel revolved around the idea of Darren’s dad being gay. Cool. Interesting, right? I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t care less what sexual orientation characters have. It honestly doesn’t affect me in any way. I’m not saying that I don’t care that people are gay or bisexual or queer or transgender or anything else, I just feel as though having a whole novel revolve around this book kind of throws this book back a few decades, back to when it was a big deal. Nowadays, I don’t know about you, but people are becoming a lot more accepting and this isn’t a big issue like Darren is pointing it out to be. Sure, it might be surprising if your dad told you he was gay after around 16 years, but it wouldn’t have to be mentioned on every single page or have a whole novel revolve around it. Let me just bring my personal experiences into this. I have friends who are gay and I have friends who are bi. To me, it’s not a big deal. It’s not even a deal. When I’m talking to my friends and talking about people we have crushes on or boyfriends/girlfriends, I never assume that a friend will have a preference for a male or female partner. When one of my good friends came out last year, I didn’t even react to that. I think the extent of my reaction was ‘oh cool’. To me, the fact that people should still feel the need to ‘come out’ shows that we still have a long way to go in terms of acceptance and this book definitely pointed that out. The fact that Darren was so affected by knowing his dad was gay was somewhat frustrating. I wanted to hit him and tell him that it didn’t even matter. I understood that it mattered to him, but that’s not enough to base a whole novel on. I normally love novels with LGBTQ+ characters because they show diversity and it’s just a little different from the usual boy/girl romance, but this book didn’t make me fall in love with it like I had hoped to. So the whole point of this rant is that I just don’t like Darren. Okay, end of rant. *exhales*
The romance in this book felt very fake and unconvincing. I liked Zoey, the initial love interest and I liked how she became a major part of this book, but I didn’t like how Darren so quickly became infatuated by this other girl. For a long time, I didn’t even know if Zoey was relevant in the story anymore. Basically it was just Darren talking about what he and this other girl were doing, and I even found that unrealistic. Maybe I don’t have much of a sex life, but the fact that Darren would meet some girl and then be having sex with her what seemed like five seconds later seemed strange to me. I’m not opposed to sex in novels if it’s done well and is used for a purpose, but I really didn’t understand the majority of this novel. For the most part though, I was impressed with the writing, but these parts of the book were not included in my previous remark. Another thing that I hated about this book was the fact that Darren’s brother was always talking about how Darren should ‘use’ girls basically just for sex. I found Darren’s brother unlikable and frustrating to read about.
Overall, I felt as though this was an interesting idea for a novel, but I just didn’t enjoy it like I had hoped. I wish I had felt connected to the characters and I expected something a lot more original from the plot. If this book wasn’t written in the form of lists, it would have been utterly unmemorable. Because of that, I would have to give Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy a score of 5 out of 10. If you’ve read this book, what did you think? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!