The Wreckage of my Presence by Casey Wilson Book Review

Book Description

Casey Wilson has a lot on her mind and she isn’t afraid to share. In this dazzling collection of essays, skillfully constructed and brimming with emotion, she shares her thoughts on the joys and vagaries of modern-day womanhood and motherhood, introduces the not-quite-typical family that made her who she is, and persuasively argues that lowbrow pop culture is the perfect lens through which to understand human nature.

Whether she’s extolling the virtues of eating in bed, processing the humiliation over her father’s late in life perm, or exploring her pathological need to be liked, Casey is witty, candid, and full of poignant and funny surprises. Humorous dives into her obsessions and areas of personal expertise—Scientology and self-help, nice guys, reality television shows—are matched by touching meditations on female friendship, grief, motherhood, and identity. 

Reading The Wreckage of My Presence is like spending time with a close friend—a deeply passionate, full-tilt, joyous, excessive, compulsive, shameless, hungry-for-it-all, loyal, cheerleading friend. A friend who is ready for any big feeling that comes her way and isn’t afraid to embrace it.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I like reading collections of essays especially by people who I am not familiar with as well as on audio. I find these really interesting when I don’t know the person since I don’t have any expectations when I go into the book. This book read a lot like a memoir and I really enjoyed each of the essays and Casey’s thoughts on several of the topics that she addresses.

Some of the essays in this book were filler pieces but those fit in quite well and I still found those easy to get through. As for the other pieces of this book, there were moments in which I was laughing and then there were moments in which I was tearing up. Something else that I like about the collection of essays that this one does well is the way it can easily go from one topic to the next at the end of the essay without requiring a transition.

I really liked how Casey discusses different topics, both serious and simple in the same manner. I liked how she managed to insert humor in all of the essays including ones that you could tell were more painful to write and read.

Author Information

Casey Wilson is an actress, writer, director and podcaster. She can be seen in Apple TV’s upcoming limited series The Shrink Next Door, starring alongside Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd and in season three of Showtime’s Black Monday. She was recently featured in the HBO comedy Mrs. Fletcher, opposite Kathryn Hahn. Casey was a featured player on Saturday Night Live for two seasons and a series regular on the sitcoms Marry Me and the critically acclaimed Happy Endings. Casey’s recent television credits include Atypical, Tig Notaro’s Amazon series One MississippiCurb Your Enthusiasm, and Black-ish. Film credits include Gone GirlThe Disaster ArtistAlways Be My Maybe and Julie and Julia.

Alongside her longtime collaborator, June Diane Raphael, Wilson co-wrote and co-stars in the movie Bride Wars as well as the movie Ass Backwards, which premiered at Sundance.

Together with Danielle Schneider, Casey co-hosts the cult favorite podcast, Bitch Sesh, which was nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award in 2019.

Casey’s directorial debut, Daddio, which she also co-wrote and starred in, premiered at TIFF and South by Southwest in 2019.

Sasha Masha by Agnes Borinsky Book Review

Author Information

Agnes Borinsky is a writer from Baltimore, now living in Los Angeles. She mostly writes

essays and plays, and has collaborated on all sorts of projects in basements, backyards, gardens, circus tents, classrooms, bars, and theaters. Sasha Masha is her first novel.

Book Description

Alex feels like he is in the wrong body. His skin feels strange against his bones. And then comes Tracy, who thinks he’s adorably awkward, who wants to kiss him, who makes him feel like a Real Boy. But it is not quite enough. Something is missing.

As Alex grapples with his identity, he finds himself trying on dresses and swiping on lipstick in the quiet of his bedroom. He meets Andre, a gay boy who is beautiful and unafraid to be who he is. Slowly, Alex begins to realize: maybe his name isn’t Alex at all. Maybe it’s Sasha Masha.

Review

Thank you to Libro.Fm for the advanced listening copy of this book so that I could review it. It took me a while to start this one because I wanted to follow along with the ebook but that was taking too long to get to me. I found that there is no need to follow along with this one as it is an easy listen to.

Thoughts and Themes: I listened to this book on audio and thought that it was a great book to listen to. This book is a coming of age story that focuses on gender identity and sexuality.

This book has a lot packed in to such a short book and it is mostly character driven rather than plot driven. I really liked how we get to see what Sasha Masha is thinking and how much of his figuring out who he is is done through internal dialogue.

What I really liked about this story is how unclear everything is for Sasha Masha, this makes the character read as a teenager which I find important in a coming of age story. I thought it was realistic to see his struggles as he thinks about being trans and how that would affect him and his relationships with his parents and friends.

The ending of this book felt unfinished and honestly I really liked that. I felt that the story was saying Sasha Masha’s journey is unfinished so the ending is open ended. I think its important to show that this journey can be ongoing and doesn’t have to end at any point in time.

Characters: Through this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Sasha Masha. I really liked seeing that Sasha Masha has a supportive friend group through the whole story even if a few people struggle with coming to terms with who he is.

I liked that we get to see Sasha Masha dating Tracy and how that figures into him figuring out who he is. I thought that him figuring that out along with how that played into his relationship was an interesting aspect to add to this story.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through Sasha Masha’s point of view and often through internal dialogue. I think its important that we are mostly inside of Sasha Masha’s head because it leaves us with the same confusion that he is going through.