I Want To Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom

Go out and buy some extra strength Advil because you're going to need it for the laughter induced headache you give yourself reading this book. 

Rachel Bloom is as awkward as she is funny, and we absolutely love her for it. She's felt abnormal and out of place her entire life, and in this book, I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are, she invites us in with a collection of personal essays and poems on the subjects of insecurity, fame, anxiety, and much more. 

She starts us out with lesson number one: fuck your bullies

Rachel actually faces off the bullies (the Gaskin's, as she calls them) later when she's a famous comedy writer and they show up at her stage door praising her for her success. 

Au revoir Gaskin, high school is over! 

Rachel AKA "the Princess", as she refers to herself throughout the book, was just what I needed when I didn’t think I needed her. 

I’ve been reading a lot of non fiction, memoir, books about psychology, trauma, self-help, and mental health. And don’t get me wrong, I love those kinds of books, learning about our bodies and brains. But it was nice to take a break from all that stuff and remember to take a few big breaths and to experience lots, and lots of laughs. 

Courtesy of Rachel Bloom's Facebook

While listening to I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are, I got so distracted sometimes, lured into whatever story Rachel was telling that I forget to socially distance. Only the scorn on another individual's face would bring me back to 2021. I'd have to pause, take a 6ft step back, and play again. Another time I laughed so hard I almost spat my venti Starbucks Pike Place into my face mask. Do you ever try to drink your coffee with your mask on? Yeah, same. 

In the book we follow Rachel through the highs and lows of her life. The first time she peed in the shower, a life changing experience for her. We listen as she brings humour to her medicated OCD, anxiety, and depression. Thank the gods for Prozac.

Courtesy of Rachel Bloom's Facebook

Bloom has conversations with her younger self, and reminds us that no matter what, no matter how bad it all gets, that it's going to be ok in the end. It will work out. 

Rachel says the things that we all want to say, she just comes on out and says it. No fucks given. Who cares what the haters think? 

I mean, who doesn't love a chapter dedicated to going to the loo titled "fifty shades of brown", chronicling the first time she ever used the crapper. 

Courtesy of Rachel Bloom's Facebook

As the COVID cases (and my anxiety) spike to higher than they've ever been here in Vancouver, this book is exactly what I needed. Numbers rising, new restrictions in place, we can't eat out and can't see friends, so for now, Rachel Bloom is the person I've been listening to most, the gal joining me on my daily walks and dull errands to the store as I push my cart around crowded supermarkets while maintaining a 6 ft. distance from those around me. 

And I've gotta admit, I must have looked crazy at times while listening to this book: AirPods in, mask on, laughing like a fool, riding the Skytrain, unable to control myself.

Bloom's voice rang in my ears at all hours, soothing me, while I took out the trash, pretending the recycle while my nosey neighbours peered out their windows, while I picked up my dogs diarrhea, when I got shit on by a crow (yes that actually happened), and when I cleaned out my cats filthy litter box. 

But it was all fine, because I was listening to Rachel while I was doing it. And somewhere in my brain, I felt calmed.

I listened to Bloom's lovely voice at 4am when racked with insomnia and anxiety. She somehow eased me back to a dreamy state and eventually back to sleep. I was really going through the motions mentally when listening. Felt at times I was drifting out to sea and then I'd hear Rachel's voice calling "hey! it's gonna be alright, it'll get better!" 

Courtesy of Allure

All in, this book follows Rachel as she finds her way in the world, comes to terms with her mental illness (es?), gets her first TV show in a male dominated field, wins her first award, and most of all, keeps her shit relatively together while doing all of the above. Rachel Bloom gives us hope. 

Comments

  1. YES. Wow. I need to go out and get this book because the only reason I want to take Advil is from a laughter induced headache! Personable, funny, well-written review. 😊

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  2. this was amazing. excellent review!!!

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