Why Girls are Weird

I heard Pamela Ribon read from Why Girls are Weird” at Book People the other week. Ribon read one piece on the twisted things little girls do with Barbie dolls; another on the indignity of eavesdropping on an ex-boyfriend with his new sweetie from behind an end-cap display in a supermarket.
The reading was lively, off-color and very funny (she kept apologizing for reading the R-rated bits standing next to the kids section of the bookstore). Ribon is a sketch comedy performer and it shows; the sketches catch and exaggerate the dramas of life shaped by pop-culture. It was infinitely better than the usual, pause, breathy, pause, dramatic, pause, intonated, pause, style that infects book readings.
As Prentiss points out, “Why Girls are Weird” may be the first epistolary novel based on the web journal form. The novel is based on a journal Ribon kept when she was living in Austin and working as paratechnical slacker during the dot-com boom.
The journal entries are fictionalized versions of the main character’s life. For example, she writes as if she were still dating her ex-boyfriend. The plot is driven by the understandings and misunderstandings that occur when she meets people in real life who know her through her web journal. The book’s emotional core is the weird mixture of honesty, selective disclosure, and fiction that makes up first person web writing.
The good things about the book are its comic sketches and the exploration of the dramatic possibilities in writing a web journal. As a straight-up novel, it’s off-the-shelf romantic comedy. The protagonist starts self-involved and doesn’t get much wiser; the romantic interest and gay best buddy are painted by the numbers.
Ribon left Austin to seek fame and fortune in Los Angeles, writing for TV and movies. She enjoys writing the journal and the novel because nobody asks her to make endings happier and characters more blonde, unlike producers in LA. After the reading, I bought the book, hoping that book-readers can keep her fed and free from obligatory blondness.

One thought on “Why Girls are Weird”

  1. Pamie Reading Report

    Adina Levin has a report on a Pamie reading. She attended a Why Girls Are Weird reading that Pamie Ribon did down in Texas.

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