My Mess is a Bit of a Life – Georgia Pritchett

“Killing yourself is an intrinsically dramatic act.”

I must confess that I had no idea who Georgia Pritchett was before I picked up this book, but the title really resonated so I thought I’d give it a go. Turns out she’s a script writer who’s worked on shows like Veep, In the Thick of It, Smack the Pony, and many more. So if the title hadn’t already clued you in, expect large amounts of wit and humour.

The first surprise, though, is that this isn’t a cohesive narrative. Instead, it’s a series of very short anecdotes, which skip over some of the high – or perhaps low – lights of the author’s life. This actually really worked for me. I’m not sure I could have appreciated it so much if this had been a book covering the topics of anxiety and such in a more in-depth or serious way.

And yet, the episodic nature is also a bit of a weak point, especially as the book continues. Towards the end, the ‘snippets’ are getting longer and longer, as these become less ‘amusing’ vignettes from childhood or years ago, and more the author’s current struggles.

And oh, does it get dark. From a childhood overshadowed with every anxiety – and this was something I felt I could relate to a lot – Pritchett’s early working life was marred with a great deal of sexism. She tells these stories that make young adult life seem adventurous, but that actually, when you look through the joke, is actually really dreadful. Through all of it, the self-deprecating humour becomes darker and darker, and I did find myself wanting to shout at her and her imposter syndrome, or the repeat visits to ‘healers’ instead of real doctors – argh!

Even as success starts to mount – I mean, the whole story about working at the White House is amazing! – the anxiety only grew worse. Marriage and motherhood pile on more and more issues, and I must admit that while still readable, by this point it wasn’t really resonating with me so much – I don’t really like reading about parenting and all its issues, I guess. The humour is a little strained, but the pathos grows instead, and there are a lot of very moving things said – to the point it’s all the more shocking when you loop back to that opening statement.

Overall, it’s an incredibly honest memoir, told in an interesting way. I’m not really sure what I take from it, though. That outward success hides a lot of pain? Knew that. That anxious kids can turn into suicidal adults? Yeah, not really a message I wanted to hear. That writing it all down helped, in a way therapy did not. Okay, there’s that. I hope Ms Pritchett’s life can be less anxious and a lot happier now!

NetGalley eARC: 304 pages
First published: 1st July 2021
Series: none
Read from 27th-30th June 2021

My rating: 7/10

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