Monday, May 22, 2017

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter ~ Scaachi Koul (earc) review [@picadorbooks @Scaachi]

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays
May 02, 2017
256 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

For readers of Mindy Kaling, Jenny Lawson and Roxane Gay, a debut collection of fierce and funny essays about growing up the daughter of Indian immigrants in Canada, "a land of ice and casual racism," by the irreverent, hilarious cultural observer and incomparable rising star, Scaachi Koul.

In One Day We ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father s creeping mortality all as she tries to find her feet in the world.

With a clear eye and biting wit, Scaachi Koul explores the absurdity of a life steeped in misery. And through these intimate, wise and laugh-out-loud funny dispatches, a portrait of a bright new literary voice emerges."

I owe this book's cover and title a thank you. I don't read very much nonfiction that isn't historical  biography or memoir nor do I read many books of essays but because of the title and cover, I read this one - and really enjoyed it.

Through her essays, Scaachi Koul (a writer I was not previously familiar with) covers a lot of pertinent, current topics and issues. It is all through stories of her life: growing up, college, work, family, family vacations, clothes shopping, etc. Each essay finds a way to not  only give you a glimpse into her life, into who she is and how she's experienced the world, but to also highlight some 'issue,' all while being relevant to nearly everyone, in one way or another. Oh, and it is incredibly funny nearly the whole while.

From body image (weight, hair) to racism and sexism to rape culture to xenophobia to talking about yoga (versus, well, doing it), One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter covers tackles a lot of those hot button issues through how they've played a part in Koul's life but also how the affect us all. Her life, her story includes immigrant parents, being Indian, being a woman but none of that has to be true for the book to be relevant (and entertaining) to you. My grandmother lived her whole life in the Southern United States but several thing Koul's mother did or said, I could absolutely hear her saying or doing. (Especially the part around bust measurements.)

If you already read Scaachi Koul's BuzzFeed articles you likely know her writing - including about her father and his emails which are fantastic - but if not, do yourself a favor and pick up One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter.

Scaachi Koul's website & BuzzFeed articles

digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

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