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we are never meeting in real life.
By Samantha Irby

A Review By Phaidra Robinson

‘All this might be easier if I could punch something, but I’m not a punch-something person. I’m a “sit in the dark in the bathroom with a package of sharp cheddar cheese slices” person. Except I don’t really eat cheese anymore. Plus I can’t fight. I’m soft, man. And I don’t have any answers.’ – we are never meeting in real life. by Samantha Irby

This is my first comedy book review for The Open Page Literary Journal, which may seem at odds with the theme of issue 5 – Mental Health – but Samantha Irby’s we are never meeting in real life. is a fantastic insight into how mental health can be dealt with. we are never meeting in real life. is a collection of hilarious essays that describe Irby’s life with honesty, emotion and comedy that creates an infectiously callous and positive approach to the ups and downs of life. I found myself laughing aloud on the bus as I read about Irby’s views on The Bachelor, love, sexuality, depression, panic attacks, money, race, fatphobia, class, disability, abuse and her moody cat called Helen Keller.

Irby describes her experiences with her own mental health with a pinch of self-mocking while keeping candid to ensure she isn’t sugar coating the reality of living and coping with mental health issues. Her relatable stories are both funny and sad, sometimes cutting so close to home I physically cringed in recognition.

I found the essay structure a fun way to read because it made it easy to read an essay on my bus ride, however, this did remove the pace of a normal book and seems to create a more disjointed structure, which is my only reason for giving this four stars. I look forward to reading her other books and if you’re looking to read an honest, funny, strong and insightful author, I highly recommend Samantha Irby.

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