Book Review: Approval Junkie*

6:00:00 PM

Earlier this year, I stumbled across a blog post mentioning the Blogging for Books website. Since I was already reviewing my own books, I figured why not try and get a couple free books too!

And that's exactly what I did! I quickly realized that the book selection wasn't my usual picks, but I wanted to give it a shot anyways. The first book I received was The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. Honestly, I loved it and you can read all about it in my review of the book here. After getting so lucky with this one, I decided to try it again.

My to-be read list was getting pretty long, but I wanted to read something that I wouldn't normally pick out for myself. That's when I happened upon Faith Salie's book, Approval Junkie. It sounded like something I'd be interested in, even though it was considered a memoir. I'm more of a YA fiction girl, but Amy Poehler has swayed me. 

Honestly, I had never heard of Faith before, but she sounded very relatable in her synopsis. I, myself, have been an approval junkie for quite some time, so I thought it would be interesting reading about someone else's journey for approval. After making my decision, I quickly requested a copy and patiently awaited my shipping confirmation!

From comedian and journalist Faith Salie, of NPR's Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me! and CBS News Sunday Morning, a collection of daring, funny essays chronicling the author's adventures during her lifelong quest for approval.

Faith Salie has done it all in the name of validation. Whether it’s trying to impress her parents with a perfect GPA, undergoing an exorsism in the hopes of saving her toxic marriage, or maintaining the BMI of “a flapper with a touch of dysentery,” Salie is the ultimate approval seeker—an “approval junkie,” if you will.

In “Miss Aphrodite,” she recounts her strategy for winning the high school beauty pageant. (“Not to brag or anything, but no one stood a chance against my emaciated, spastic resolve.”) “What I Wore to My Divorce” describes Salie’s struggle to pick the perfect outfit to wear to the courthouse to divorce her “wasband.” (“I envisioned a look that said, ‘Yo, THIS is what you’ll be missing…even though you’ve introduced your new girlfriend to our mutual friends, and she’s a decade younger than I am and is also a fit model.”) In "Ovary Achiever," she shares tips on how to ace your egg retrieval. (“Thank your fertility doctor when she announces you have ‘amazing ovaries.’ Try to be humble about it [‘Oh,these old things?’].”) And in “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me About Batman’s Nipples” she reveals the secrets behind Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! (“I study for this show like Tracy Flick on Adderall”).

With thoughtful irreverence, Salie reflects on why she tries so hard to please others, and herself, highlighting a phenomenon that many people—especially women—experience at home and in the workplace. Equal parts laugh-out loud funny and poignant, Approval Junkie is one woman’s journey to realizing that seeking approval from others is more than just getting them to like you—it's challenging yourself to achieve, and survive, more than you ever thought you could.

Even though I didn't know anything about Faith Salie, I didn't think that I would have a problem staying interested in her book. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

The first few chapters had me laughing and I found them to be very relatable. However, I had to push myself to finish the remaining chapters. I'm embarrassed to say that it took me weeks to finish this book.

Originally, I thought that Faith had an interesting life. She has overcome some very harsh experiences and I was beginning to think she had learned to accept them and move past them. Of course, the further I made my way into the book, the more I realized she hadn't.

Based off of the title, Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much, I assumed that this book would be a collection of stories about the need for approval and how she's learned that approval isn't always necessary. I guess that's my fault though, I made an assumption.

In Faith's book, she does include memories of looking for approval, but there didn't seem to be a turning point anywhere. It seems like Faith is able to laugh off these experiences now, but she is still way too hard on herself.

Another issue that I had with this book is the need for name dropping. It felt like I was constantly reading other celebrities name. I understand that they have a place in Faith's life and may come up in her stories, but many of the name drops seemed unnecessary. For instance, I definitely did not need to hear about the wedding gift that came from Lorne Michaels. It didn't add anything to the story or the reader's experience.

When it comes to Faith's actual writing, I noticed that she really enjoys long sentences. It's important that writers include a variation between sentence structure, but that wasn't very apparent in this book. On multiple occasions, I found sentences that were 6+ lines long. It made it very difficult to keep up with her train of thought because there wasn't a proper pause in her writing.

One of the only positives that I can say about this book is that I loved the cover. It is simple, yet elegant and it's definitely got my shiny gold star of approval. However, I know that the credit for the cover goes to someone else.

Overall, I would not recommend this book. While I do applaud Faith for putting herself out there and sharing her life with the world, I think she could have done a better job of it. Of course, that's just my opinion. 

If you're interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here

Have you read Approval Junkie? I would love to hear what you thought about it in the comments!

* This book was provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. However, all opinions and comments in this review are 100% my own. *

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *

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