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It's Hard Not To Hate You by Valerie Frankel
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It's Hard Not To Hate You (2011)

by Valerie Frankel

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543332,210 (3.23)2
After being advised to reduce stress by her doctor, humorist Valerie Frankel realized the biggest source of pressure in her life was maintaining an unflappable, easy-going persona. After years of glossing over the negative, she goes on a mission of emotional honesty, vowing to let herself feel and express all the toxic emotions she'd long suppressed or denied: jealousy, rage, greed, envy, impatience, regret. Frankel reveals her personal History of Hate, from mean girls in junior high, selfish boyfriends in her twenties and old professional rivals. Hate stomps through her current life, too, with snobby neighbors, rude cell phone talkers, scary doctors and helicopter moms. Regarding her husband, she asks, "How Do I Hate You? Let Me Count the Ways." (FYI: There are three.) By the end of her authentic emotional experience, Frankel concludes that the positive thinkers have it backwards--toxic emotions are actually good for you.--From publisher description.… (more)

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I expected I’d like this more than I did. I’m not sure I was in the right place to read it. While I thought that this book might help my crummy mood by “helping me get the hate out,” I found it just made me uncomfortable. Instead of funny and sarcastic, sometimes I felt she was petty and ungrateful. Sometimes it felt “look how awesome I am.” There were some parts that were generally funny and felt universally true, but those moments didn’t come often enough. I’m not sure if releasing my “inner bitch” is really the right thing to do (then again, I don’t seem to be handling my stress very well lately, so maybe it might help?). I guess I just come from the positive attitude mindset — not that I need to fake it all the time, but that when I dwell on the positive and the good things in life, I tend to be a happier person. And the opposite is true as well. I happened to pick up The Happiness Project right after this one, and it’s hard not to compare the two. I think I’d rather try my own Happiness Project than a Hater Project.

As far as her writing goes, Frankel’s writing is sharp and she has a keen eye for what’s going on around her and how to parlay that into a good essay. The essays are a little mish-mashed together, but I thought that she did a good job of keeping her theme all the way through. Her family ends up coming off very likable, though I’m not sure if I can say the same for Frankel herself.

Read my full review here: http://letseatgrandpa.com/2012/03/12/book-review-15-its-hard-not-to-hate-you-by-... ( )
  letseatgrandpa | Mar 12, 2012 |
I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First reads for review.

I really enjoyed Valerie Frankel's new memoir. I don't know why, but I enjoy reading stories of others' real-life woes. I suppose it is because it makes me forget about my own. Thumbs up for that!

Valerie Frankel decided that, at age twelve, she was not going to let anyone see the hurt and pain that was her life. Give the proverbial "poker face" to the world. She soon finds out that bottling these emotions has turned her into a stressed out, internal rage-aholic. Well, no longer, she says! She has earned her right to be ANGRY!!

She does talk about her life in the publishing world, family, and friends (or lack thereof), and all the gripes she has. She chides herself on feeling these emotions so strongly, but over the course of time learns that it is ok. Everyone has these feelings and letting them out is what keeps us (women) sane. ( )
  breadnbutter | Aug 13, 2011 |
Valerie Frankel just might be my new snarky author crush.

It's hard not to like her, really, in her latest memoir. It's Hard Not To Hate You details Frankel's struggles with jealousy, insecurity, dissatisfaction and health troubles, as well as her life with Steve, her musician husband, and their two daughters. Frankel is a professional writer and her peeks into the freelance life were fascinating -- especially as she works from home and has scores of books bearing her name at Barnes & Noble.

But the real meat and potatoes of this memoir? Frankel's struggles with haterdom. While she is a new-to-me author, I appreciated Frankel's insights into why it's "hard not to hate" her spouse (a man she actually dearly loves, of course); the nasty, holier-than-thou neighbor who refuses to acknowledge her presence; the subtlety racist woman from her daughter's school who can't distinguish between she and another Jewish mother (though they look nothing alike). The book feels like tunneling into Frankel's soul -- and she does eventually get to the bottom of the hate and discovers where much of it stems from. And, like any addiction, owning up to the problem is the first step.

I'm a lifelong hater. Moody, bossy and controlling, it's hard for me to admit that my bad moods often spoil things for others -- but I know that's the case. As I've gotten older, I've learned to check my negative energy, resist complaining when things aren't going my way and realize that not everything is about me. That final bit is a realization Frankel and I share -- that no, the world isn't out to punish me. The jerk who cut me off in traffic wasn't cutting me off in traffic, you know? He was just being a jerk. And I happened to be minding my own business on the highway during his Reign of Jerkdom.

I appreciated Frankel's many nuggets of wisdom, specifically regarding the need to own your jealousies rather than trying to swallow them whole. We're taught that it's uncouth and petty to feel jealous, but that's not really true -- is it? You can feel anything you'd like. Now, it's not as though you're going to walk around slapping the coworker who just got a big promotion or sucker-punching some dude who won $1,000 in scratch-offs. You're just going to feel the jealousy and move on, right? But you can't bottle up that dissatisfaction, no matter the feeling. You can't hide from your negative reaction to your friends' behaviors, and you can't ignore the inconsiderate things people do in public. If you do, you'll be lighting a flame under your own inner boil. And it'll reach a roil in no time.

You know -- if you're like Frankel and me. The one thought I had while reading It's Hard Not To Hate You is that some people will love it and some people won't. It was nice to read a book that felt like a personal address to me, but that doesn't mean it's a book for everyone (what book is?). As much as I enjoyed It's Hard Not To Hate You, I can appreciate that it might be a tough read for others. But if you like your memoirs humorous and are a fan of greats Jen Lancaster and Laurie Notaro, I'd urge you to give this one a try. It might cool your Hater-ade consumption, too. ( )
  writemeg | Jul 5, 2011 |
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Dedicated to: My Amazing Lifers (You Know Who You Are)
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I might've broken the official Guinness World Records for longest sulk in history.
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When I had plans, I felt a sense of dread and had to psyche myself up to get out the door. But then I'd have a great time and wonder why I didn't go out more often. When opportunity came again, however, I'd wave at it as it passed by.
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