Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Anti Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland: Book Review



Brutal, brave, hilarious - a full-frontal memoir about surviving the very worst that life can throw at you.

Rosie Waterland has never been cool. Growing up in housing commission, Rosie was cursed with a near perfect, beautiful older sister who dressed like Mariah Carey on a Best & Less budget while Rosie was still struggling with various toilet mishaps. She soon realised that she was the Doug Pitt to her sister's Brad, and that cool was not going to be her currency in this life.

But that was only one of the problems Rosie faced. With two addicts for parents, she grew up amidst rehab stays, AA meetings, overdoses, narrow escapes from drug dealers and a merry-go-round of dodgy boyfriends in her mother's life. Rosie watched as her dad passed out/was arrested/vomited, and had to talk her mum out of killing herself.

As an adult, trying to come to grips with her less than conventional childhood, Rosie navigated her way through eating disorders, nude acting roles, mental health issues and awkward Tinder dates. Then she had an epiphany: to stop pretending to be who she wasn't and embrace her true self - a girl who loved drinking wine in her underpants on Sunday nights - and become an Anti-Cool Girl.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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Well holy moly, I might have just found the woman who has completely inspired me to write my own memoir. I tell you now people, that this book is not for the faint hearted or the easily offended. Rosie Waterland is an exceptional writer and portrays her long struggle with life growing up with a poor family living through state housing and eventually being thrown into the fostering system before barely turning ten, along with a lot more heart breaking and relatable (if you have gone through a similar bringing up) moments which will stick with you long after you close the book for the last time. This is the first memoir that I've read which I can highly relate to and one which actually made me laugh out loud, making my partner think I was on drugs or that I was messed up when I showed him the part about when Rosie was a kid, masturbating while watching (or not watching) Rugrats. Yeah that got me at first too, but later on as I became more and more acquainted with Rosie's grotesque humor I decided I really did enjoy reading about all these crazy moments in her life which basically led up to her becoming an "Anti Cool Girl".

So first of, I really want to say: Rosie, if I ever get the chance to meet you in person I am literally going to give you the biggest hug. I may not have gone through the exact same circumstances but I know exactly what it's like to feel like the kid who doesn't feel loved enough, cool enough or good enough for anyone. I know what it's like to have an alcoholic mother and have multiple step-fathers. I know what it's like to feel embarrassed for doing something stupid or having nights where sometimes you don't think your parents will ever come home. Life is tough and there are sadly too many people in the world that have to suffer through their childhood due to the bad choices their parents make and sometimes it's too hard for their parents to get help or even be helped. Reading this book almost became a trigger for me. It's hard reading something that you relate to so much or at least have a major understanding of without thinking about everything you went through too and coming away from it with a tear-free face. There were multiple moments where I just had to look up and remind myself that I was here, I was okay and that nothing like this would ever  happen again. I feel for Rosie because she seemed to soldier through all the painful things in her life and even as a grown adult, she still felt the pressure of life and how society can still be a bitch, even after school. If you think that your family is a little f**ked up, then meet Rosie's family. No, it doesn't mean she's a terrible person, it just means that she has had to go through a lot of shit in her life which she didn't deserve but came out a stronger person because of it - basically giving the definition of this book.

If Rosie were to ever write a fictional novel whether it be young adult, new adult or adult fiction, I would most definitely read it. She has this crazy humor about her which has lead to her imminent success and even through such an emotional, heart-breaking memoir, is still able to shine through her not-so-glamorous moments by making fun of herself and taking a joke on all the embarrassing things that happened to her as a kid. I'm not sure I would be ready to now, but Rosie has definitely inspired me to one day write about my story and laugh through the stupid things I did as a kid and a teenager. The main thing I got out of this book was that no matter how shitty your life was as a kid, you can always redeem yourself and become a better person because of it. But also the fact that you can do well in life and succeed to the expectations you had hoped of. I was weary of this novel at first and was wondering what HarperCollins was trying to get me into, but now I am glad because now I have read a wonderful story which has been an inspiration to me and probably many others around the world. I just hope that one day Rosie gets to star in one of her awesome, personally playwritten movie, win an Oscar and give the big, dramatic speech that she always wanted!

Overall I have given this book a 5 out of 5 stars because it was such a powerful book and I think that if more and more people bought and read it, they too would be just as inspired and awe struck as I am after having delved into the brilliantly awesome life of an Anti Cool Girl such as Rosie Waterland.


Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy! Go like their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Harpercollinsnz?fref=ts


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