Book Review: Go Ahead & Like It, Jacqueline Suskin (2015)

May 1st, 2015 11:04 am by Kelly Garbato

Not Terribly Interactive

two out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

Go Ahead & Like It is not at all what I expected. Granted, based on the book’s vague and weirdly broad Amazon description, it’s difficult to pin down precisely; in one breath, it purports to be a scrapbook, art book, self-help book, how-to guide, etc., etc., etc. So perhaps it’s unfair to dislike it for failing to meet my already hazy expectations. But. When the description says that it features “writing prompts,” I don’t think it unreasonable to assume that the book will also include blank space for me to work on said prompts. Not so much.

Go Ahead & Like It isn’t an interactive journal or workbook, with space for the reader to formulate her own lists, but rather an instructional guide, the bulk of which highlights Suskin’s own lists, photographs, and ephemera. The end result feels remarkably self-indulgent: Suskin fans aside, who wants to shell out seventeen bucks to read an assortment of a stranger’s random lists?

What we have here is a case of good idea, poor execution: this book would have been 100% better had Suskin complemented her writing tips with one or two of her own lists (and perhaps a plethora of artwork with liberal white space), and then given her readers ample space to record their own. There’s one blank list at the very back of the book, but that’s it.

To add insult to injury, Suskin includes in her lists things which I find morally repugnant: hunting, fishing, and fetishizing the bodies of dead animals. One list sports this cryptic entry: “disorders.” I can only hope the author isn’t referring to physical and/or mental disorders (the romanticization of which is entirely uncool).

After skimming through Go Ahead & Like It, my knee-jerk reaction was to give it one star. But, upon a full read-through, I have to admit that some of Suskin’s advice is rather intriguing and evocative. Just not to the tune of $16.99. Wait for it to go on deep discount, or else just save yourself the time and Google “gratitude lists.”

Buy it if: You want a Post-Secret style art book.

Skip it if: You’re hoping for an interactive journal or workbook that’s all about you.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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