Hannah Friedman’s life has been stranger than fiction. Raised by a struggling musician and a monkey trainer and with an actual monkey as an older “sister”, Hannah felt she was destined to be a freak. Instead of embracing the unconventional though, Hannah enrolls in one of the most prestigious high schools in the US and tries her best to fit in, falling in with the popular crowd, running for class president, and setting her sights on Yale. But fitting in comes at a price: a drug habit, an eating disorder, and an attitude that alienates her from her family.
The best thing about this teen memoir is Hannah’s fresh, funny, and brutally honest voice. Whether she’s writing about a mother-daughter confrontation she witnesses worthy of an episode of “My Super Sweet 16”, her romance with a rich boy, or her struggles with binging and purging, Hannah manages to find just the right tone.
I have to admit though, that I found her highly unique family stories way more interesting than her rather clichéd life at boarding school. Thanks to Gossip Girl and the like, teens aren’t really shocked anymore by the excesses of the rich and snobby. It is no major revelation to read that teens pop prescription drugs to study for tests, drop hundreds of dollars on a pair of glasses on a whim, or even overdose and die far before their time.
Hannah repeatedly bemoans being upstaged by the monkey, but the monkey is also her biggest hook. I feel a little bad for saying this, but give us more monkey Hannah!
EVERYTHING SUCKS is out in paperback now. Find out more about the book at the author’s website. Or watch the trailer I’ve embedded below. You can also check out other reviews that were part of this TLC book tour.