I find memoirs to be one of my favourite kinds of books. But normally the celebrity memoir doesn’t have quite the same charm as they can sometimes become a bit showy and self-congratulatory. However, this wasn’t the case with this one.
I think that it was the essay format that really helped this one along. Having separate little stories to devour meant that it didn’t feel like we were just aiming for the point where our main character gets famous and we should all clap and cheer because they have made it when us mere mortals are never going to achieve even a smidgen of their success.
In Managing Expectations, Minnie does take a close look at her faults and I loved the essays earlier on in the book that charted some of the key moments in her childhood.
The book was written during lockdown and Minnie’s mother died during the writing of it. This meant that the book had a very sad ending because the final essay is about the death. Reading it was painful and I can imagine anyone who has lost someone will find it even tougher. Her mother sounded as though she had such a way with words and I hope that when I am on my deathbed, I can pass on wisdom like that.
If you get the audiobook, there is an extra interview at the end which is well worth a listen. Minnie chats with her friend who is a novellist herself, and they talk about the art of memoir writing and about being an avid reader.
I loved that they pointed out that being human is never one thing or the other. She describes an audition when she was a child, and her response to her friend who was upset about not getting the part was, ‘there is no best, there is just one that gets picked.’ I liked that because I’m guilty of thinking in black and white; if I don’t get picked, to me, it means that I’m rubbish.
I also loved when they spoke about readers being polite people. I had never made that correlation, but now that I’ve heard somebody say it I can’t unsee it.
So, from one reader to another, have a lovely evening and I wish you the happiest of weeks.