This Really Isn’t About You by Jean Hannah Edelstein was on my December read list, and I finished it in January.
This Really Isn’t About You by Jean Hannah Edelstein is a memoir of her life. It begins almost in the middle, when Jean is trying to rebuild her life in Brooklyn after 14 years of living overseas in the UK and Germany. Two years prior she found out over Skype that her father has cancer. She then delves into her past and then it skips to the present and how she and her family are coming to terms with the loss of her father and the grief proceeding it.
Jean talks about her family life, and how her father’s Jewish traditions were interwoven in her childhood. She then goes on to talk about her experiences of living abroad, moving countries for love and the feeling of helplessness when it comes tumbling down. She also talks about trying to kickstart her career as a writer and the various workplace experiences she has had. When she moves back to Brooklyn she discovers she has the gene for Lynch syndrome and describes the various medical tests she has to undergo.
This Really Isn’t About You – Jean Hannah Edelstein – My Thoughts
Jean Hannah Edelstein recalls certain moments I think we can all relate to. Such as getting locked out of her flat at midnight and having to call a locksmith but having no money to pay him with. Or cycling around on a sunny day. Or living somewhere a little grotty around the edges for a cheaper price. Her writing is funny in a dry way but always heartfelt and honest.
I found the memoir to be rich and candid. I think it’s something most people could take something from. Especially if they’re a woman who has moved away and navigating life overseas, or who has experienced the breakdown of a relationship, loss and grief. I guess my only gripe is the title. I thought the book would be her coming to terms with a selfless realisation. Perhaps she lived a self-involved life and her father’s illness made her become more aware of the needs of those around her. Instead it is her memoir and it really is about her and self-realisation.
Have you ever read This Really Isn’t About You by Jean Hannah Edelstein? Do you like reading memoirs?