Considering I spend so much of my life writing non-fiction (can blogging be called ‘writing non-fiction’?) I don’t actually spend a lot of time reading anything other than fictional stories.But this – a collection of essays by author Marian Keyes – was something that I wanted to read as soon as I knew it was going to be published. Making It Up As I Go Along is a collection of short essays on topics ranging from travel, breaking up with hairdressers, addiction to nail polishes, how hard it is not to buy new face cream (even when your old one hasn’t finished), and finding hobbies. Not just that but it is such a beautiful book – that yellow! that illustration! – that I knew I would enjoy it.
And guess what? I really, really did.
What I knew about Marian Keyes from her fiction writing (because to my shame I hadn’t read any of her essays before even though many of them have been published in various magazines and websites) was that she was and is very funny. Her writing usually has been grinning in public places, not something generally encouraged on the tube and Making It Up As I Go Along was no different. I was laughing out loud (actual lol-ing) on the tube as I read her essays. Her honesty was something so brittle and so delicate, yet her writing is definitely all the stronger because of this. She doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion or talking about her life with her husband or her family.
You don’t need to read this book in order, though I did, and you can dip in and out of sections when you feel like it. A personal favourite of mine had to be her essay on breaking up with a hairdresser – something, thankfully, I have never had to do. I also loved her various travel diaries; her insights into the people she was travelling with (there was one notable anecdote of one woman who believed the Earth to be freakishly young) has me snorting with laughter. I loved that Marian wrote about normal situation – travelling, going to football matches, being a Strictly fan – and made them extraordinary. She writes in such a way that not only was I laughing at her wit and cleverness, I paused at the more serious comments and asides, giving them a little more attention and thought than I normally would if this was something written by someone else.
I recommend this collection so much and I really, really, really, hope you give it a go. And if you do, let me know what you thought!