11 October 2018

In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It by Lauren Graham

This review will be very short as the book itself is ridiculously short. I read it in two, twenty-minute bath sessions. I didn't entirely know it was more of a 'Hallmark' book before adding it to my wish list but I did know it was an expanded version of the commencement speech she gave at her high school (Langley High) in 2017, so I sort of expected it to be shorter and a tad cheesy. I almost decided it wasn't really the type of book we'd normally review on this blog, but thought I'd better in case any of you were half expecting more of a novel like I was.

My friend Riah was kind enough to put this in a birthday basket for me this year and it's the perfect type of book to gift or put on a coffee table or nightstand, in a similar vein to Cheryl Strayed's Brave Enough (although I make this comparison in size and format alone, not in quality). It's basically a long essay where Graham attempts to inspire the graduating class not to be too hard on themselves as they enter the real world, which in my opinion is a much better message for graduates than "you can do anything you want, aspire to greatness!"

So if you're kicking yourself for not having accomplished all you thought you should have by now, don't worry about it. People bloom at different stages of their lives, and more often more than once. My dad ran a successful company for years, then, at age 72, became a certified spinning instructor because he loved cycling so much. Eventually, I was lucky enough to have the career I wanted, but it wasn't a straight shot or an easy path."

One of my favourite things about Lauren Graham is her Jason-Bateman-esque sense of self-depricating humour where you can basically shit on people as long as you make it obvious that you're still worse off than whatever you're saying about them. The whole, 'I can make a mockery out of you suffering because you'll never be suffering as bad as me' type humour. It's my favourite kind. So for Graham to be talking about how students have such high expectations for themselves while graduating and then immediately fail to meet those expectations, it comes across as sincere because you know Graham must have failed her own expectations just as hard. And while yes, she's still a famous, rich, celebrity now, I never question that she worked hard for it, so I'm always willing to take her advice seriously (as opposed to say, Ivanka Trump's book about being a woman in business, because I'm convinced Ivanka Trump could have been sitting on the couch with a Deep and Delicious everyday of her life and still be where she is today).

The fun of doing the daily crossword puzzle with my TV children between shots on the set of Parenthood rivaled any awards show I've ever attended. The 'success' parts of life look good to others, but the best parts are actually the simple, daily experiences. This is true whether you're an actor or a teacher or a waitress. I know this because I've been all three."

Lauren Graham (to state the obvious)

...or to get recognized by others on the 'big' days, like when you get into college or find your first job. Or, of course, when you graduate. But those days are few and far more rare than the many, many days when you and your work will go unnoticed."

I would recommend this book as a gift or motivational pick-me-up for anyone in your life who loves a good inspirational quote. It makes an excellent end table or back-of-the-toilet type book, and you don't have to really enjoy reading to enjoy it. I really treasure these types of books and am glad to add it to my collection. They contribute to the decor but also serve a purpose, and I'm always happy to support my favourite celebrities. If you're adding this to your wish list thinking it's a follow-up to her memoir however, you'll be disappointed by it's size and content.

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