About The Book:
A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!
Darren hasn’t had an easy year.
There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.
Then one Thursday morning Darren’s dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.
Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You (or MBMIEAIAYBY for short) is told entirely in lists, which is an incredibly unique idea. At first I wasn’t sure how the author would pull this off, but this element of the book was done very well He managed to capture the essence of Darren’s life with these lists.
At first glance, this book appears to be massive (Goodreads tells me that it is 656 pages!) and it is more than a little intimidating. However, since it is told entirely in lists and there are lots of pages with only a few lines or paragraphs (it really depends on how long the lists are—sometimes they are only a word or two), it really isn’t a long read. I read it in a few hours.
The main character, Darren, has a lot going on. His parents get divorced, his dad reveals his big secret (which I’m not going to spoil), his brother goes off to college, he has a noticeable lack of friends…—and that’s just the peak of the iceberg. I personally didn’t think Darren was an outstanding main character, but I didn’t hate him by any means. He just wasn’t very interesting to me.
I liked the side characters a lot more than I liked Darren. His sort-of girlfriend Zoey, his mother, his father, Rachel, his brother Nate—these characters were very interesting! I wish I had learned more about them and their backstories.
What about the road trip? The description seems to make out the road trip to be the main event of the story, but it definitely didn’t feel that way to me! Darren boards a bus with Zoey, visits his brother, and comes back. The event takes up about 1/6 of the book, and the rest is Darren trying to figure out what to do in his current situation. I picked up this book for a good road trip story, and I was pretty disappointed that it wasn’t what I received.
My main issue with the book was the fact that although I loved the lists and the concept, I was bored most of the time while reading. There’s very little action, and there are pages of lists that I felt could have been cut out to make the story faster-paced (For example, the list titled “19 Colors Darren Watches Drive Past On The Street About One Hundred Feet Away…”) This isn’t intended to be an action-packed story, but a lot of the description felt unnecessary.
Overall? This was an okay book. There were a few parts I disliked (the lack of action and road trip-iness, for example) but I did enjoy a lot of it as well (such as the interesting side characters and idea). It’s really hard to pull off a novel entirely in lists, and I think that Todd Hasak-Lowy did pretty well. Three stars from me, and recommended to readers who like unique narrative styles.