Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Everything Is Going to Be Great - Rachel Shukert

When she lands a coveted nonpaying, nonspeaking role in a play going on a European tour, Rachel Shukert - with a brand-new degree in acting from NYU and no money - finally scores her big break. And, after a fluke at customs in Vienna, she gets her golden ticket: an unstamped passport, giving her free rein to "find herself" on a grand tour of Europe. Traveling from Vienna to Zurich to Amsterdam, Rachel bounces through complicated relationships, drunken mishaps, miscommunication, and the reality-adjusting shock that every twentysomething faces when sent off to negotiate "the real world" - whatever that may be.

I received Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour from the publisher as a Goodreads First Read giveaway prize in August, and started it immediately. And then I got sidetracked. And sidetracked again. And again. And...well, you get the point. This wasn't because I didn't like the book, because I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it. I'm not actually sure why it took me so long to finish, but at any rate, I am finished (finally), and here's my review.

I was initially attracted to this book simply because it's about travel, and I am generally fond of travel books - in fact, a proportionally large amount of my favorite books involve travel of some kind. Also, I loved the cover, which affects my reading choices more than I might like to admit. Fortunately, I was not at all disappointed by Shukert's memoir. Her writing is hilarious and very tongue-in-cheek from the very first page: "There are many wonderful ways to use this book. For example, if you are removing a hot casserole dish from the oven and have misplaced all your trivets, you could use this book instead." While her style has the potential to come off as contrived, I didn't find it to be so; on the contrary, the book felt very honestly written. Though I did have to cringe at Rachel during several parts of the book (she makes some very stupid decisions over the course of the memoir), it didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the book. On the whole, I definitely recommend Everything Is Going to Be Great.

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