Book Review: Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford

Kelly Oxford rose to fame on Twitter with her pithy, clever updates.  In this funny memoir, she shares more of her personal stories.  Essay topics range from her experiences as a precocious child growing up in suburban Canada to her experiences as a mother.

The stories present in Oxford’s book are loosely chronological, starting with her precocious childhood (these stories are often gratingly obnoxoious) and moving into her young adulthood.  The book also deals with Oxford’s experiences with parenthood, and she often takes a no-holds-barred approach to storytelling.  This works, sometimes: her voice as a child and a teenager comes across as incredibly entitled (which was the point, I think), and it makes it hard to like her.

The strongest parts of the book are near the end, when Oxford seems to grow into her voice. Standout essays include “How I Met Your Father” and “An Open Letter to the Nurse Who Gave Me an Enema Bottle,” but many of the other stories sort of blend into the background.  These are funny, heartfelt, and entertaining.

Of course, the problem here is that Oxford isn’t much of a writer.  Her true calling is as a funny voice on Twitter, and what’s disappointing about this collection of essays is that she stays far away from that topic.  The most interesting thing about her is her celebrity-persona on the social networking site, and her decision to only briefly mention it feels like a mistake.

Although this is a sometimes funny memoir, it’s also totally forgettable.  Recommended to hardcore fans of Oxford or readers looking for a light collection of autobiographical essays, but there’s better stuff out there. A tendency to be a grating personality will alienate some readers.

Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford. Harper Collins: 2013.  Electronic copy accepted for review via Edeweiss.

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