One of my continuing aims in 2014 is to continue to read more non-fiction. Sadly even though I enjoyed many memoirs in 2013 it took me many months to pick up Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson. I enjoyed my foray back into reading memoirs so much I immediately started The “Poor Me” Manual by Hunter Lewis.
The “Poor Me” Manual is the fictional recollections of author Hunter Lewis on the different and numerous phases he went through on his journey to perfecting self-pity. Yes you heard me right his journey to perfecting self-pity, yes he went through numerous phases and yes this is in fact a fictional memoir. When reading The “Poor Me” Manual I couldn’t believe that one individual could go through so many phases! But of course Lewis’ uses this many phases to get his point across. I don’t really want to say more because I think the phases and how Lewis progresses to each is the real interest of this memoir. To tell you more would take away some of the surprise and enigma of this memoir. I went into reading this pretty much knowing nothing about what it was truly about.
I found myself asking if I liked Lewis and the answer was no, not really but I can’t deny I found him and his journey fascinating. Lewis is a changeable person and not only goes through many changes in self-pitying behaviour but also jobs, location, mind-set and relationships. I also found myself wondering if I really felt like I knew Lewis and again I think the answer was no, not really. There is so much emphasis on the self-pitying element of his personality there was hardly any room left to discuss other elements which my mind tells me there must be. Of course this being a fictional memoir meant Lewis’ intention was for the reader to only focus on the self-pity elements but reading this has emphasised for me I like getting to know different elements of people.
The “Poor Me” Manual is the first book I have read by Hunter Lewis. As I said above I didn’t truly know what this book was about when I started reading it. Not knowing the author or subject meant choosing to read this was quite a stab in the dark. This could account for why this book languished a little on my to-be-read after I received a copy. I also presumed from the title this would be a depressing read which was not to be true. Negative and depressing things do occur in this however the quirky feel of Lewis’ life and phases took the sting off anything that happened for me. I am glad I was brave enough to pick this up as I thought The “Poor Me” Manual was well written in a surprisingly down-to-earth style and coupled with the fact the chapters were short and sweet meant I just flew through this memoir.
The “Poor Me” Manual is an interesting and quirky memoir on how a man perfected self-pity through the phases of his life. I recommend to those looking for something a bit different.
Thank you to Axios Press for providing a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Have you read Lewis? Any recommendations for other quirky memoirs?