09 May, 2013

Review: Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell

Please don't buy this book.

I mean, you can absolutely buy this book if you so desire. Possibly you have it on preorder right now. I'm sure Charlie McDowell has bills to pay. He would probably be delighted if you ordered this book in triplicate or quadruples or whatever multiple met your perceived needs. I am begging you to wait. Read a sample chapter first. Consider a library hold. If we get the books we deserve, then collectively we've done something wrong and we need to fix it before Dear Girls Above Me bags a series order.

"I tugged on Marvin's leash, trying to pull him inside. He held his ground, staring up at me with his bulging eyes, as if to say, "Oh hells no, I still gotta take a shiiiiit." For whatever reason I picture Marvin's human voice to be that of a middle-aged African-American woman from the South. I probably should have mentioned that earlier. And it's not racist, because he's a dog." - Dear Girls Above Me (Page 6)

This passage occurs 3 pages after I knew I wanted to spend as little time as possible with Charlie McDowell and 274 pages before we were able to say goodbye. It did not get better. McDowell loves his -isms, his earthy humor and his self aggrandizing self deprecation. The overriding theme of this work is crap. I don't mean that as a descriptive term for the relative quality, although I wouldn't argue very hard if it were so applied. McDowell loves crap. His own, his dog's, the building's plumbing. If it's fecal, he's all about it. Record for lit farts? McDowell is on it. He's also about other people having sex. His narrator likes to listen, no matter the sounds. It's ok for him to feel superior to everyone he depicts because he holds himself in the highest loathing. Or something like that. McDowell fails at the ultimate responsibility of a humorist. He isn't funny. What may have worked in 140 characters falls apart stretched to novel length.

This may be the perfect book for you. It's possible I just described your dream read. Please proceed with all haste and purchase Dear Girls Above Me for your very own. Just don't ask me to join the book club.


  1. "It's not racist because he's a dog and there's absolutely no history of conflating POC with animals." STAGGERING!

  2. That was just the easiest pull quote. He's got half a dozen like that in the first two chapters.