Monday, February 3, 2014

The "Poor Me" Manual: Perfecting Self-Pity, My Own Story by Hunter Lewis

Review: The “Poor Me” Manual: Perfecting Self-Pity, My Own Story
By Hunter Lewis
Expected Publication: March 7, 2014 by Axios Press
Hardcover, 65 pages
ISBN: 1604190744

It’s hard to admit this, but I didn’t even know who HunterLewis was until I started reading the galley for The “Poor Me” Manual: Perfecting Self-Pity, My Own Story. So I went into it with no idea what to expect. After reading that Hunter Lewis has written several books on economics and financial issues, I realized that it’s just as well I didn’t know anything about him before since I would have only felt more confused. The “Poor Me” Manual reads more like a book by Margaret Cho or another comic or starving artist who managed to turn his or her life around.

I realize it’s a stereotype, but I usually think of economists and investment bankers as people who have their you-know-what together. These tend to be goal oriented and scary organized people. Poor Me reveals a person riddled with self-doubt and insecurities, and tortured by the feeling of always being adrift. Granted, Lewis packages all of this in witty prose with cute labels for each “phase” of his development.

Organization does peak through in Lewis’s categories. He breaks his life into four sections by color: The Green Years, The Red Years, The Yellow Years, and The Blue Years. Phases within the green years include the following: gamesman, prince, high flyer, perfectionist, and compulsive. In the Red Years, we learn about his boss, fighter, avenger, sulker, and helper phases. The Yellow Years cover his recluse, onlooker, conformist, escapist, and routinist phases. The Blue Years were the hardest for me to make it through and they encompass his defendant, prisoner, dependent, self-effacer, and martyr phases.

Since anyone who knows me well knows how anxious I can be and how self-conscious I am about . . . well, everything, it isn’t surprising that I found a lot I could relate to in these pages. What did surprise me is that in spite of all this neuroticism, Lewis managed to survive an abusive relationship, rocky career changes, financial difficulties, and substance abuse problems, and still pulled out a successful career and kids. This gives me hope in a weird way.

This review is based on a free, uncorrected digital proof of the book. The reviewer did not receive any payment or free cocktails in exchange for writing this review.