Review: Once I was cool – Megan Stielstra

18528073Verdict: I want to read everything Megan Stielstra has ever written und will ever write.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Date read: January 21st, 2018

Published by Curbside Splendor, May 2014

Find it on Goodreads.

In these insightful, compassionate, gutsy, and heartbreaking personal essays, Stielstra, whose essay “Channel B” was recently featured in Best American Essays 2013 edited by Cheryl Strayed, explores the messy, maddening beauty of adulthood with wit, intelligence, and biting humor.

The essays in Once I Was Cool tackle topics ranging from beating postpartum depression by stalking her neighbor, to a surprise run-in with an old lover while on ecstasy, to blowing her mortgage on a condo she bought because of Jane’s Addiction. Or, said another way, they tackle life in all of its quotidian richness.

When I read Megan Stielstra’s second collection of essays late last year, I had to rewrite my “best of the year”-list. As such it comes as no surprise how much I enjoyed her debut essay collection. I just adore the way she writes essays, from the structure to the sentences to the messages, I find it beyond incredible. The only reason I “only” rated this four stars is because her other collection is just that strong and there are some essays there were a bit too similar.

Megan Stielstra writes about many things: about feminism, about postpartum depression, about love, about mortgages and many other things more. I adore the way she does it and the warmth she projects. She holds herself accountable while still being nice to herself as well as to others. (Her essay on niceness was just wonderful to read) I like the ultimately hopeful feeling of this book despite its heavy subject matters.

Like many of my favourite essayists she writes about the importance of art and literature and education and does so wonderfully. Her writing is accessible while still being clever and deep; which I find very impressive indeed.

I don’t have all that many things to say about this except for this: I am a fan.

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