Overall, I enjoyed it. | BookishFirst

Overall, I enjoyed it.

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starla216 Avatar


If I had the ability to select half stars, I would've rated this one 3.5, so I rounded it up to 4.

I was extremely excited to read this book. I not only saw lots of hype about it (with many saying it was their favorite memoir or one of their favorite books of 2020), but I've also been a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event (of which the author is the lead singer) for several years.

That said, I'm not sure it was exactly what I expected. I mean yes, it was a story of Mikel's life, growing up in unusual circumstances. I think perhaps I expected more of the story to revolve around the cult that he was born into - and while that experience of living in the cult did impact his life in many ways, life in the cult itself was a very, very small part of the story. That said, this is his life story, so it makes sense that if he spent only a small part of his life there, the story wouldn't be focused there. So it's not a complaint, just an incorrect expectation on my part. Thought it was worth mentioning in case others expect the same.

I cannot imagine growing up like Mikel did, and I love how introspective he is throughout the book. Not just talking about the experiences, but about how they affected him - both on the surface and deeply/emotionally. He learns to recognize why he makes self-sabotaging decisions as an adult, which I found so interesting. I love seeing how he cherishes certain aspects of his upbringing while struggling with others - and how he uses those struggles as a catalyst for change.

I did find the book to be a little slow at points - it was not a book that ever had me completely engrossed. I read it in bits and pieces over the course of a few weeks, as opposed devouring it over the course of a few days (which is how I normally read books).

Overall it was a good book and I would recommend it to others. But I've read a few other memoirs about people who had unusual upbringings, and I felt that those struck more of a chord with me and elicited a more visceral response than this one did.