How to be a Person in the World


I love reading advice columns. It reminds me that others have problems too and we all share a common problem-having trait. Also, I’m a bit of snoop and will spy on neighbours and pursue eavesdropping as a sport. But some things that irk me about advice columns is that they tend to be biased and the advice seems generic and well, useless.

“How to be a person in the world” is written by Heather Havrilesky. She is the author of the weekly advice column Ask Polly, featured on New York magazine’s The Cut. The book is full of profanity and sage advice, an interesting combination. The questions range from love to STDs to bad jobs to body positivity to relationships.

One of my favorite chapters was “What would Kanye do?” She even raps a little and it’s fun reading that bit aloud because it, well, rhymes. And there’s a lot of cussing going on and it’s funny imagining the writer going Kanye West and shit, y’know? I mean, look at that sweet face.

I must admit that I skipped some parts where the author talks about her life philosophy and jumped straight to her real life anecdotes. Who doesn’t?

Sometimes she lets the crazy lady shine through when she says stuff like:


I loved her for it. Here’s what she says about the absurd tightrope women have to walk:

You are a nice person, and you’re also full of anger. You’re a walking tangle of contradictions. That’s okay. Most of us are like that. Women, most of all. How could we not be? People want us to be sexy warriors who roll over and play dead on command. They want us to be flirty burlesque dancers in burkas, aggressive conquistadors with cookies in the oven, Dorothy Parker meets Dorothy Gale, Sandra Bernhard meets Sandra Dee, Kristen Stewart meets Martha Stewart.

Recommended for: People who want some direction and guidance peppered with a liberal amount of profanity.

Rating: 7.5/ 10



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