Book Review: I Don’t Know What You Know Me From
You know Judy Greer, right? Maybe from The Wedding Planner, 13 Going on 30, Carrie, Arrested Development, orThe Descendants. Yes, you totally recognize her. And, odds are, you already feel like she’s your friend.
In her first book of essays, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From, Greer writes about everything you would hope to hear from your best friend: how a midnight shopping trip to Walgreens can cure all; what it’s like to wake up one day with stepchildren; and how she really feels about fans telling her that she’s prettier in person. Yes, it’s all here—from the hilarious moments to the intimate confessions.
ashley | Memoirs are a touchy genre for me. I read them a lot and often really appreciate that extra little glimpse into someone’s life. It makes me feel closer to whoever wrote the memoir I am reading and I love reading about my favourite bands and music scenes and people I greatly admire to get an intimate perspective I will never have myself.
But at the same time, I’m sometimes really put off by a memoir. Especially celebrity memoirs. I always think – well, who are you to think you’re so special that you can write a book about pointless moments in your life and publish it and ask people to pay for it? I think there’s a really thin line between braggy and funny. I’ve read a lot of really great ones – Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling – that balance out humour and personal stories with some kind of feel good overall message. But then a lot of others I’ve read seem like one long list of names they have rubbed elbows with at some point that they’re sharing only to make it seem like they are more important and more exciting than they are.
What is interesting about Judy Greer’s take, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From, is that right from the very beginning, Greer admits that while she’s been in a ton of movies, she’s never been much of a leading lady and while she has a recognizable face and makes a good living, she’s not the kind of person whose name you’re going to remember.
Somehow by doing this, everything that follows, all of her talk about private schools and the spoiled tone she has when she explains how her parents threatened to not pay for her college tuition, seems a little less annoying and this air of superiority and entitlement seems almost ironic. This could have very easily been a “poor me, I’m not as pretty as Angelina Jolie and I always play the best friend, even though I’ve been working steadily since I was young and still live a pretty comfortable life” kind of book, but it’s not.
Greer does seem genuinely appreciative of her life and her career, but can also appreciate the little moments in her life that are worthy of sharing, the moments that drove her to write this book. She’s also quite honest about herself and bold in her opinions, which I find refreshing to read. She doesn’t try to hide what could come off as a bit selfish or vain or childish.
There are a lot of things you didn’t need to know about Judy, like her reaction to her first pubes and some other tmi anecdotes, but there are also a lot of great moments about her trying to make a life in Hollywood and her minor glimpses into the A-list life. As charming as Judy’s best friend characters seem to be, she seems twice as charming in real life and someone you really would want to be best friends with.
Whether you ever remember Judy Greer’s name or what you know her from, you will definitely remember her book.