Tag: Celebrity Memoir

How To Be A Bawse, by Lilly Singh

“You’re a Bawse now, and you need to spend less energy stalking your ex on Instagram and more energy making phenomenal first impressions. Plus, there are so many famous puppies on Instagram now who are way cuter than your ex. Get your priorities straight.”

rainandabook-lillysingh-superwoman-howtobeabawseI’ll always fondly remember the evening I was introduced to Lilly Singh aka Superwoman’s YouTube videos. The reasons for that are beyond the scope of this post, so I won’t elaborate further and bore you. That said, I confess that I’m not a regular viewer of her videos. In the three years that I’ve known about her channel, I’ve watched only a handful of them.

However, the book, How To Be A Bawse is delightful enough to revisit every once in a while. Going in, I assumed it was going to be another celebrity memoir (a genre I quite enjoy), but right at the beginning, Lilly says, “I’m not that old or wise, so this is not a memoir. Instead, this book is an accumulation of lessons I’ve learned that I want to share with you.” Fair enough.

So what is How To Be A Bawse? It is, as the name suggests, a kind of work that borders on Self Help. So what am I doing reading it, given that I despise the genre? Because it felt so positive and uplifting as soon as I started reading it. I won’t call it motivational (cos that makes it sound boring) or funny (which it most definitely is, but that’s so incomplete and dismissive if funny is all I called this book). God knows we could all use more positivity in our lives.

And what then is a Bawse? In Lilly’s own words, “A Bawse is like a boss, but so epic that I had to change the spelling.” Tell me you don’t wanna be a bawse after reading that definition. I’ve only just finished reading this book, and I already feel like taking on the world.

In this book, Lilly talks about the stairs and ladders she climbed rung by hard rung to reach where she is. At the end of each part, she’s included a section titled “Out of the blue”, where she compares who she used to be years ago, suffering from depression, and who she is today in comparison. As someone who has been going through the relapse from hell since the beginning of this month, I found strength from these portions (and wished Lilly was my therapist, but life is not that kind).

She talks about meeting her idol, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (and makes some… um… puns on the way) and how the most important thing is to visualize your goals and work towards making them happen. Now, a lot of what Lilly says isn’t something we don’t already know, but it’s the way she says it that makes a difference. The positivity, the sense of hope. Something that calls out to us, asking us to believe in ourselves. That is what I enjoyed the most about this book.

The reason why I mentioned in the beginning that I haven’t watched a lot of her videos is to point out that you don’t have to be a huge Lilly fan to enjoy this book. You don’t have to be familiar with her brand of humour to like it (Ellen DeGeneres’ Seriously I’m Kidding is an example of the opposite of this). It’s great and stands well on its own.

One of my main takeaways from this book is that if you have accomplished something in life, be unafraid to be proud of it. You achieved something, you deserve all the good things that come with it – pat yourself on the back for it.

I’d recommend How To Be A Bawse for the happy vibes alone. Whether you want to follow her advice or not, or whether you think you already know the lessons she has to offer, read it for how her story makes you feel. You will definitely not be disappointed.

Goodreads | Amazon

 

How To Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran

A few years acaitlin-moran-howtobeawoman-sreesha-divakaran-rainandabookgo, my good friend, Caitlin Moran and I were discussing the possibility of me releasing a memoir. I asked her to ghost write it for me, which she did, but I received the shock of my life when the book came out – in her name.

I’ll wait for you to stop gasping about this betrayal. Shocking, right?

OK, no, that’s not true. You can all stop hating her for the betrayal that never happened.

Nor is she my friend *sobs* Why is life so unfair!

The thing is, this book could have been about me. No, I know what you’re thinking: that I say this about every book I read and I relate to every protagonist and antagonist there is in this world. But this is not like that. You see, everyone has this one thing about which they turn madly, passionately, near-fanatic. Nearly everyone. Some people blow themselves up for an imaginary fairy in the sky, some people get the Prime Minister’s name tattooed across their chest. For me, it is, and almost always has been, feminism.

Lately, I have been getting really pissed off with people, especially women, who have been declaring they are not feminists because of reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with feminism. There is a man whom I used to respect a lot (used to) who referred to feminism as “rebellion.” What was ironic was the context – it was mentioned a highly pro-women blog-post; so I assumed, like 50% of the population and numbnuts like Sarah Jessica Parker, this man had no idea what feminism was, because otherwise why would anyone be so self-contradictory in one breath?

Caitlin Moran touches upon the key issues women face daily, starting with sexism at the workplace – she mentions how it is so ingrained in our system, that sometimes we don’t even realize it – how women are constantly judged, in ways that men are not, about the clothes they wear, about their career choices, personal life or almost literally everything. She talks about the question that only women are asked all the time, “When are you having kids?” To which she has an excellent response: “Batman doesn’t want a baby in order to feel he’s ‘done everything’. He’s just saved Gotham again! If this means that Batman must be a feminist role model above, say, Nicola Horlick, then so be it.” Caitlin has two children of her own. In this context, I have to add, I have been asked by several people why is it that I advocate that to have kids or not is a woman’s choice when I have a child of my own. I am also asked this illogical question, “Do you not want others to have what you have?” The answer to that is simple: How do you know what makes them happy? Who are you to decide and judge?

“Batman doesn’t have to put up with this shit-why should we?”

Yet another key issue she mentions is how clueless and ignorant (education, literacy, career status not withstanding) women (*cough* SarahJessicaParker *cough* KatyPerry *cough*) seem to be claiming they are not feminists; which is a question that has been plaguing me for a while. The only thing that I ever had in response to that was, “If it weren’t for feminism, you wouldn’t be offering your opinion right now, so go invest in a dictionary, you moron.” Of course, Caitlin puts my thoughts into much more funny, straightforward and eloquent words that sound somehow more polite than my brash ones:

“These days, however, I am much calmer – since I realised that it’s technically impossible for a woman to argue against feminism. Without feminism, you wouldn’t be allowed to have a debate on women’s place in society. You’d be too busy giving birth on the kitchen floor – biting down on a wooden spoon, so as not to disturb the men’s card game – before going back to quick-liming the dunny. This is why those female columnists in the Daily Mail – giving daily wail against feminism – amuse me. They paid you £1,600 for that, dear, I think. And I bet it’s going in your bank account, and not your husband’s. The more women argue loudly, against feminism, the more they both prove it exists and that they enjoy its hard-won privileges. We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? What is feminism? Simply the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy and smug they might be. Are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are.”

Really. It’s that simple. I wish I get to be “calmer” one day about all this like Caitlin says she now is. God knows I could use it! But until then, I can do two things: 1) Recommend this book to everyone – men and women – and tell them the would enjoy it – both the content and how funny it is 2) if anyone comes at me with ignorant and idiotic lectures against feminism, I will clobber them on the head with this very same book. I think Caitlin will not appreciate this second one, because she has repeatedly mentioned anger isn’t the answer – humour probably could be. Hence, I will leave you with one final quote from my new favourite book by my new favourite feminist role model, who sadly isn’t my new best friend:

“But as the years went on, I realised that what I really want to be, all told, is a human. Just a productive, honest, courteously treated human.”

Get it here: Amazon.

Immediately.

Seriously… I’m Kidding, by Ellen DeGeneres

“I’ve already written other books – two as myself and dozens more under my pen name, Danielle Steel.”

Last year, with a seriously-im-kidding-ellen-degeneres-sreesha-divakaran-rain-and-bookfew shaky steps, I forayed into the world of celebrity memoirs. I shouldn’t say last year, it was just last month technically speaking, and what is time but a continuous wave of ever flowing… maybe I shouldn’t be JadenSmithing you right now.

I started off with a really good one – Tina Fey’s Bossypants. But the two books that followed were wee bit less impressive – Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and this one. Especially this one.

Don’t get me wrong, this book is really very funny. But it is too random. Again, I may just be unfairly comparing it to Bossypants, which had a very linear sequence of events, but this was too random. Some chapters were written only for the sake of humour, and this resulted in it seeming forced. There are some chapters that are merely bullet points of random possibly-humour-generating statements. Or words.

Ellen is a lot of fun and spontaneous on her show. This book is only for her fans, cos I feel those who are not familiar with her style wouldn’t find this book funny at all. Her jokes have an over-the-top edge when she delivers the punchline that you simply must be familiar with to follow the book.

If you’re a fan, pick up the book, as it is an extension of watching her on TV. If not, you can totally give this one a miss.

Get it here: Amazon

Bossypants, by Tina Fey

tina-fey-bossypants-sreesha-divakaran-rain-and-a-bookEveryone should head over to a bookstore (or Amazon) and get a copy of this book, like, right now.

I approach celebrity memoirs the same way I approach celebrity perfumes – by staying as far away from them as possible. Perhaps I am snooty when it comes to my literature and my fragrances, I don’t know. But I read a few excerpts of Tina Fey’s Bossypants on GR, and I just knew I had to read the whole thing. While we’re on the subject, may I add that I also got a copy of Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Big changes in my life, who knows, I might step out and buy something from Lady Gaga’s range of perfumes. Holy hell, that’s adventurous!

This book will leave you in splits! I maintain a stoic expression when I read gore mysteries in public (I try really hard anyway). This is probably the only book I’ve read that’s from a genre on the other end of the line. I tried hard to maintain the same Master Shifu expression while reading Bossypants, but I have to say, it was really hard. People stared, I am not proud to say (ok, a little proud, on Tina Fey’s behalf) Here’s a bit from the first page:

If you’re a woman and you bought this book for practical tips on how to make it in a male-dominated workplace, here they are.

Perhaps you’re a parent and you bought this book to learn how to raise an achievement-oriented, drug-free, adult virgin. You’ll find that too.

Maybe you love Sarah Palin and you want to find reasons to hate me. We’ve got that!

Maybe it’s seventy years in the future and you found this book in a stack of junk being used to block the entrance of an abandoned Starbucks that is now a feeding station for the alien militia.

Here’s another bit that I really loved, but I must add it was mostly nervous laughter. Why, you ask? Because when I read it, I could picture my son in the scene and I just knew she was right.

Right now, my daughter’s not scared of my husband or me at all. I think it’s a problem. I was a freshman home from college the first time my dad said, “You’re going out at ten p.m.? I don’t think so,” and I just laughed and said, “It’s fine.” I feel like my daughter will be doing that to me by age six.

How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety.

This book covers the story of Tina Fey’s father (a formidable man, also, Don Fey in the above excerpt), her life at SNL, her husband’s fear of flying, her daughter, 30 rock, and a life filled with adventures and disasters. Her quirky, self-deprecatory humor makes this book one of the best I’ve read. There are jokes, there is feminism, there are parenting stories (along with a “prayer for my child” which was excellent (not in a serious and religious way))  there are stories of friendship; basically, I think Tina Fey is now one of my role models! I know I don’t go out of my way to read funny books, as you all probably know, but this is one book I would recommend to everyone.

Trivia: Bossypants won GR’s Readers’ Choice Award under the Humor category in the year it was released.

Get it here:

Amazon

(PS: If in Bangalore, you will find amazing discounts on this book at Blossoms Book House on Church Street. Just saying.

Ok, kinda pushing you really hard to go and buy it.

Just buy it, ok?)