Book Review: I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom

Title: I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are

Author: Rachel Bloom

Genre: Memoir/Essay Collection

Number of Pages: 288

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes

Even though it’s very uneven, I enjoyed Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and find myself singing the songs… a lot (‘Fit Hot Guys Have Problems Too,’ anyone?) It’s a daring show (a musical sitcom!) about a woman with borderline personality disorder who’s stalking her old flame and moves and starts working at a law firm just to be close to him. Sure, it has the occasional weak episode and the comitragic tone works better in some places than others, but it’s a very entertaining show.

The main actress and co-creator of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rachel Bloom, writes about her experiences both as a nerdy kid who got bullied by her peers and an overworked, overwhelmed adult in show business. I really enjoyed the first half of the book with Bloom’s awkward childhood memories, but I found myself losing interest a little bit when it went into her involvement with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and creative process. Some of the chapters REALLY dragged and the humor occasionally felt forced.

There’s a lot of TMI and cringe humor in the book (not unlike the show) and Bloom shared more details on her bathroom habits that I strictly needed. The mental health stuff really hit home for me. She had strong OCD tendencies and that was something I absolutely related to, plus all the ‘confessing’ to her parents to make the obsessions go away. She was never officially diagnosed but from my clinically obsessive-compulsive viewpoint, she either meets the criteria or did at one time. I felt that chapter so hard.

And the pre-teen erotic poetry just about killed me! I really liked that she included things like that. The photos of pages from her childhood journals were a nice touch. I bet I could (almost) out-cringe her with the stuff I wrote when I was a kid, though. Despite the occasional chapter that felt especially drawn-out and long, I enjoyed this book of essays and Rachel Bloom’s self-deprecating sense of humor. I finished the whole book in one night and the following morning and it doesn’t feel like a ‘celebrity’ memoir, per se. There’s an honesty and down-to-earthness to it that makes it appealing, though it will be particularly enjoyed by fans of the show.

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