Arts & Culture

Reviewed: “Everything is Going to be Great” by Rachel Shukert

Harper Perennial 309 Pages The 21st Century has been good to women that write books about their personal lives.  Some would say that it’s the post Bridget Jones Diary/Sex in the City market that has made this possible, but works … Read More

By / August 2, 2010

Harper Perennial

309 Pages

The 21st Century has been good to women that write books about their personal lives.  Some would say that it’s the post Bridget Jones Diary/Sex in the City market that has made this possible, but works by Emily Gould, Sloane Crosley, Julie Klausner, and Lesley Arfin argue otherwise.  While Bridget Jones and the exploits of Carrie Bradshaw may have inspired a few casual readers and television watchers, the brave new world of female writers offers something entirely different: an empowered woman who is genuinely smart, savvy, and often times equal parts hilarious and heartbroken. Unlike the old guard of, dare I say, chick-lit, this new generation embark on the adventure for the sake of it, not for simply the end-goal of romantic happiness or accomplishment. With the release of her second memoir, Everything is Going to be Great: An Underfunded & Overexposed Grand European Tour, Rachel Shukert may have jumped to leader of this pack by giving us a 300 + page account of living in Europe at the dawn of the new millennium.   In her latest book, Shukert, fresh out of college, attempts to find herself in Europe as she tours with a play, making no money, and taking the crappy jobs (comedy show “promoter” anyone?) that you would probably be forced to take if you stayed in America. Granted, the “Funny American in Europe” story dates back to Benjamin Franklin and the founding of our country, and the last fifty years have made the “ugly American” a device that elicits both easy laughs and grimaces from those of us who would love to see our national image cleaned up across the old world. Thankfully, for all her drunken exploits, Shukert is far from a character in National Lampoon’s European Vacation (as funny as that would be).  She doesn’t shy away from sharing her lows and eventual highs, spread out all over a content that she doesn’t understand, as much as she might think that she does, and somehow, she pulls it all off with grace.

Shukert’s stories are accessible, clever, and most of all, extremely memorable, and she has proven herself a master of the memoir.