3 out of 4 stars
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Like fruit juice, books come in many different flavours and textures. Watermelon juice, in my opinion, is fundamentally different from other types of juices. Even when it’s very cold, I find it pleasantly comforting to drink. It has more substance to it somehow, as though it were less liquid than other types of juices. After reading Diary of a Dirtbag Waitress by Alice Auditore, I knew I felt very refreshed, but the book quenched my thirst in a very specific way. It wasn’t a sweet shock of apple juice, nor was it a shot of tart orange-flavoured seriousness. It was wholesome and it hit the spot the way that only my favourite reddish-pink juice can. I sipped and savoured this autobiography of a 24-year old woman who has already amassed enough outlandish, hilarious, and sometimes tragic experiences to have lived an entire lifetime. She has worked twelve different jobs in hospitality, an industry on which she makes both penetrating observations on and a lot of fun of.
One reason this book was so refreshing was the author’s keen and unrelenting wit. The stories were filled with numerous caricatures of different types of people and dramatic retellings of events. Her humour had wonderful build up and took turns you wouldn’t expect. For example, she describes a type of person called “the tyrant” as follows:
It was the type of humour that was intimate and playful. It invited you in and made you part of the scene, witnessing the joke with her. This is what made the story so wholesome and pleasant, apart from being just fun and refreshing.Watching everything you do, waiting for a slip-up, a constant stream of verbal or subliminal criticism directed at you, directed at everyone. At all times. How their laser focus and retina strain doesn’t manifest into severe migraines, I don’t know. Maybe it does. Maybe that’s why they’re so tightly wound. Perhaps it’s a combination of the migraine, Panadeine Forte they’re dependent on and the frustration that no one can do anything right.
The author did not only crack jokes at the expense of other people. The real endearing quality of her story came from her extraordinary honesty about her own experiences, her moral dilemmas, and what she had learned. She put everything she felt, thought, and did on the table for everyone to see and judge. This made it so that no matter what she did you would root for her. She was not just a character in a book, but a friend. She was so willing to honestly reflect, accept and share everything she had experienced that it was impossible to not empathise with her. Another bonus of this non-defensive candidness was a constant and unpretentiously humourous undercurrent to the entire story, which spontaneously emerged from her attitude of resigned acceptance to the absurdity of her life.
The sheer volume of life experiences, taboo thoughts, and confused feelings made Diary of a Dirtbag Waitress both deeply personal and, somehow paradoxically, utterly accessible and relatable. I believe it’s quite likely that upon reading this book, most people would find bits of themselves in the author and her story, some of which may have been previously hidden to them. This would make the book’s sincerity a profound force of stimulating deeper honesty and awareness in the reader as well!
While watermelon juice is refreshing and wholesome, it lacks a certain refinement and clarity. Even though it’s nice to drink, it isn’t something you would necessarily serve to guests. This book requires some editing. Many of the sentences I found were constructed slightly awkwardly, and some were simply phrases. An example could be the excerpt from the book that I had referred to in the second paragraph of this review. There were also more than ten grammatical errors that were found. Because the book tasted better than it looked, I gave it 3 out of 4 stars. This book is not for those sensitive to profanity. However, if profanity is not an issue to the reader, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants something nice to sip on, be it a warm summer’s day or a rainy one. Both ways, it works.
Diary of a Dirtbag waitress
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