anti cool girlIN BRIEF:

Harrowing but hilarious autobiography, with a healthy dose of self-help for the selfie generation

Details, details:

ISBN: 9781460750640
ISBN 10: 1460750640
Imprint: Flamingo – AU
On Sale: 24/08/2015
Pages: 304
List Price: 27.99 AUD

What the back cover says:

Rosie Waterland has never been cool. Growing up in housing commission, Rosie was cursed with a near perfect, beautiful older sister who dressed like Mariah Carey on a Best & Less budget while Rosie was still struggling with various toilet mishaps. She soon realised that she was the Doug Pitt to her sister’s Brad, and that cool was not going to be her currency in this life.

But that was only one of the problems Rosie faced. With two addicts for parents, she grew up amidst rehab stays, AA meetings, overdoses, narrow escapes from drug dealers and a merry-go-round of dodgy boyfriends in her mother’s life. Rosie watched as her dad passed out/was arrested/vomited, and had to talk her mum out of killing herself.

As an adult, trying to come to grips with her less than conventional childhood, Rosie navigated her way through eating disorders, nude acting roles, mental health issues and awkward Tinder dates. Then she had an epiphany: to stop pretending to be who she wasn’t and embrace her true self – a girl who loved drinking wine in her underpants on Sunday nights – and become an Anti-Cool Girl.

An irrepressible, blackly comic memoir, Rosie Waterland’s story is a clarion call for Anti-Cool Girls everywhere.

What I say

There’s no doubt that Rosie Waterland plays her story for comedy, but there are moments in this book where you find yourself questioning whether laughter is really the right response.

It’s just so damn devastating. And, what’s more, it’s all true.

The humour is blacker than black, and mostly Rosie is the butt (literally, there are a lot of poo stories) of her own humour.

You only have to read the chapter headings to get the idea..

You will get caught masturbating while watching Rugrats
Your dad will finally die, and you’ll be relived.
Your mum will chase you with a butcher’s knife

In this day and age of extreme oversharing, I’d like to think I’m pretty hard to shock, but reading the scene in which Rosie watches her mum try to hang herself (and does nothing to stop her) is a story I found utterly devastating. The honesty is extreme and unflinching.

‘…as soon as I saw her through that window, dragging a flimsy dining-room chair towards the front yard’s only tree, I knew what she was doing. And I had so been looking forward to watching Letterman.

But this is Rosie’s life. Her stories are extreme, and extremely funny. And even though my childhood was excessively happy and settled, I found myself relating to Rosie in a very personal way. I was never cool as a child. I’m probably not now, and I don’t really care.

Ultimately, brains win.  And Rosie has a good and brilliant one, which is probably why, after just 27 years on this earth, she has discovered what takes most people a mid-life crisis, or menopause, to work out – and that is – the secret to being happy with yourself is to be the person you most naturally feel you are. Not the person that others want you to be. Or the person that you feel you should be. Just do/be/wear what makes you feel most true to yourself.

I’m weird and awkward and out of place, and sometimes blanket forts and taco-kerbs are just more my style. Realising that is what finally gave me permission to stop trying so hard.

Ultimately, this story has a happy ending (if you can call being 27 an ‘ending) in that Rosie is now a highly successful writer with the Mamamia Women’s Network.

But, as I finished this book with a smile, I couldn’t help thinking of the thousands of other ‘Rosies’ out there, living in desperately difficult situations, the awful collateral damage of parents with addiction and mental health issues.

Really, this book is for them. And I hope, as they navigate lives that are far too much for a young person to bear, they get to read it.

Visit Harper Collins for more information, or to buy the book

2 Comments

  • Deborah
    Posted 24/09/2015 4:35 pm 0Likes

    Great review Cassie. I’m not sure this one’s for me but know this is proving popular so perhaps it’s helpful to get people talking about certain issues. I’m reading (and re-reading) Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson which is about depression (though more her own stories than those of others) and it’s a bit similar, but very VERY funny!

  • simone
    Posted 27/09/2015 1:09 pm 0Likes

    Great review Cass. And as a published author and accomplished wall dancer, you are very cool to me. But I am a rhythm challenged nerd – so coolness will always be subjective.

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