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‘Hey Natalie Jean’ – A Liveblogged Book Review

I received a lovely gift today – a copy of ‘Hey Natalie Jean’, the world tour worthy freshman book effort by the blogger formerly known as Nat the Fat Rat. Because I so enjoy drinking and falling on grenades for my GOMIBLOG hamily, I will now proceed to use my day off to read this with a bottle or five of prosecco and update this post in real time with my thoughts, including pictures. Just keep on hitting refresh – I’ll get the first part up and then continue updating as I read. Off we go!

First impression: wow, this was cheaply made. Like ‘self-published’ quality. The cover is not great, this would not pull me in if I saw it on a shelf. The paper is like computer printer paper. The inside pics are grainy, because of the paper, I guess. And the first page is this:

SHARTFACE

SHARTFACE

The ‘Introduction’ is just the post that probably got her the book deal – her ‘On Being A Queen‘ thing about how she is a domestic ruler of Castle Natalie or something. Since anyone who would buy this book has already read this post for free I’m not sure why it was included, but ok.

“Part One: Domesticity Gets a Bad Rap” makes no sense considering the climate of SAHM worship for the past decade. Who is giving domesticity a bad rap? Because as a single woman not raising children I can tell you this – I am pelted round the clock with messages that marriage and babies is the expected life for a vaginal citizen these days. Anywhats, the first chapter (apparently two pages is a chapter in Natalie Jean land) is all about her kid’s ‘closet bedroom’. Which, again, something her fangirls have already had shoved down their throats for like 2 years.

She launches into Chapter Two by telling us motherhood is how she knows she can “do things, real things” like “make magic”. This chapter is one page. ONE.

Chapter Three is about keeping the “sparkly spark” in your marriage. This chapter tells us before Brandon she was dating a super laid back guy, but then she met Brandon and proceeds to compare herself to Felicity Porter choosing between Ben and Noel. I have never seen that show so I’m not sure what her point is, but ok. This discussion of Felicity and Noel goes on for a solid paragraph. Then she tells us that Brandon “can be a challenge”, before then comparing their relationship to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. She says there is “an awful lot of sparring going on” but that she considers it “foreplay”. This is when I switched from coffee to prosecco because I did not need that mental image. She ends by going back to the previous metaphor, stating she married a Ben.

She then launches into “bad marriage advice”, starting off by saying “you should marry your best friend” is bad advice because your husband doesn’t want to hear about your period or tell you if your pants look ok. This is weird because a few years ago she claimed one of the things she’s learned about marriage is that “you should marry your best friend”. But since everything else about Natalie has done a 180 in the past year, I guess her views on marriage have as well. She then advises people to have their marital spats via text message, as it’s a good way to have a disagreement about parenting right in front of the kids without them knowing. Apparently you should never say no to sex, either. Then I laughed all the laughs at  her saying “you should never bad mouth your spouse” because she’s the expert on portraying her husband in a wonderful light. She wraps it up by saying farting during an argument is wise, and that “marriage is a business relationship”.

Chapter Four is all about how her grandmother was born out of wedlock and then details her descent into Alzheimer’s. It’s another three page ‘chapter’, and I wish I could say it was touching and a heart moving tribute to her namesake, but it was basically all about Natalie and how all of this information impacted Natalie.

Chapter Five is ostensibly about “making a house a home”, and is built around the totally original idea that things should be “useful, but above all, let it be beautiful”. Then it’s basically every hipster twee wannabe Pinterest board on earth puked onto paper – antlers, woven baskets, plus sign covered blankets and pillows, sheepskin rugs, mason jars, ukeleles. Everything in bland neutral colors, though I suppose ‘bland’ is subjective – I know a lot of people love neutral home decor. You can see that advice in the preview images here. She also thinks “rugs are stressful” so I guess that’s why she has so many.

Chapter Six is about “tidying” which is basically one page saying pick stuff up and put it away.

“Part Two: How I Stopped Washing My Hair and Attained Inner Peace” is the beauty advice section or something. It starts off with Chapter Seven, which is about how Natalie likes to “decorate things” and that she doesn’t think “the perfect furniture arrangement” will solve all her problems, “but I wonder, is all”.

CHECK OUT HOW COOL I AM I HAVE A JANE BIRKIN LP

CHECK OUT HOW COOL I AM I HAVE A JANE BIRKIN LP

Chapter Eight is called “On Being French”. I just. She says “Let me start off by saying: I am not French” which she calls “such a shame”, and my first thought was “not for the French”. She likes it “a lot” when people tell her she “could be” French and says “seeming French” is “the zenith of existence” for women her age. She says she stopped washing her hair because someone told her French women only wash their hair once a week and their hair is “never especially groomed”. She goes on to say a muted wardrobe and “unkempt hair” is the “French way of life” and using face cream at night is “all very French of me”. This chapter goes on for a staggeringly long five pages, and is basically an excuse for her to name drop her Mason Pearson hairbrush.

Chapter Nine is a page and a half of text called “On Tomboy Style” which she begins by telling us she used to sew up the holes in her husband’s underwear. She then blathers on about how she now feels at home shopping in the men’s department, and that she’s “becoming a dude, is what it comes to”. Then we are treated to two full pages of Shartfacing In Outfits, presumably to demonstrate her “tomboy style” – which is basically tops and jeans.

Chapter Ten is “Love Letter To A Uniform” in which Nat advises you to have a “personal style motto” because “there’s just something to making decisions about things, you know?” She tells us we need a “style icon” and predictably hers are Alexa Chung, Mary-Kate Olsen, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jane Birkin and Jane Birkin’s daughters. And apparently she talks to these people in her head while shopping or something.

I call up Alexa any time I’m at the thrift store contemplating something boxy. Hi, Alexa! What do  you think of this? She tells me I look great…

Then there is another full page of Natalie In Outfits, because striped shirt and jorts and black jeans with a white tee is your cue to think “She is SO FRAWNCH!”

Chapter Eleven is “This One Time at Fashion Week”. She apparently got invited by some “designer” she liked and wanted to go because “Maybe I would grow as a person?” But her ticket was for “Standing Room Only” and she “wasn’t so sure” she “liked that”. She says there was too much peplum, so I guess this was back in 2010/11 when everyone was in peplum cut crap for 15 minutes. She says these were not “my people” because her people wear slouchy white tees and Birks. Then she babbles on about seeing someone she knew before launching into whining about being told the show was full and she could leave, and this was apparently some kind of wake up call but she enjoyed it because the humiliation made her feel “very Anne Shirley”. But someone asked if they could take her picture on the street, and “that helped”. She then went home where her husband made some snarky remark about “Miss Standing-Room-Only”.  I have had four glasses of prosecco now and I honestly cannot figure out the point of this story at all.

Chapter Twelve is “False Lashes 101”, basically Natalie saying they are a “game changer” because they make her unwashed hair look “great a little messy” and something about how they “make you look like Bridget Bardot” because French.

LASHES WITH A SIDE OF SHARTFACE (sorry about my gross ass cuticles btw, I did some DIY ish this weekend)

LASHES WITH A SIDE OF SHARTFACE
(sorry about my gross ass cuticles btw, I did some DIY ish this weekend)

Part Three is “Motherhood Looks Good on You“. Now it’s getting into longer (5-6 pages) chapters so I’m going to climb out onto my hip and dreamy fire escape for a hip and dreamy Birkinesque smoke before I bring you verbal Blue Steel on this section.

(Intermission)

Sigh. Ok, Chapter Thirteen is “My Own Private Idaho” which is right up there with “Feeling Minnesota” in my list of ‘Keanu Reeves Movies That Really Display His Acting Range If He Were Portraying A Piece of Botoxed Clay’. Anyway, it’s basically six pages (6! she must have had caffeine that day) where she says Idaho was their “worst case scenario” and that they wound up there because the universe is super mean to Natalie. She says it snows a lot in Idaho but she, Queen Natalie of the Beauty Bringers created joy by going to Costco for hot dogs. Her “life on the whole was pretty dumb and underwhelming” which is hur hur because her blog at that time was the version of her that most GOMIBLOGers seem to like the best. Anyiswhats, she “got tired of being such a bummer” because she couldn’t get pregnant and hated Idaho. Then something something she started to see “little miracles” and she planted peonies that failed to thrive, and saw herself in those peonies. Then she goes to yoga and hears “go to your happy place”, and rather than Disneyland she pictures herself with a baby, and ends by saying “I want to be a mother. Oh I want to be a mother.” So basically this is the only chapter thus far that makes me see her as a human being. Good job on that, is what.

(YES I’M DRINKING SOME MORE YOU WOULD BE AS WELL)

Chapter Fourteen is “How To Make a New Place Yours” in which Natalie advises you to find places in your town that you love – “when you’re looking for something to do” you can be all hey let’s go to “our place for lunch”. Two page chapter.

Chapter Fifteen is “A Mom’s Guide to New York City” where she tells us she’s “never been a mom in the suburbs” (ok, neither have most of the moms I know here in NYC, but sure, continue) and says New York City is the “best place in the world to raise a baby”. Personally I think that’s a matter of disposition; the NYC moms I know mostly grew up here and many nannied here, so they have all the experience with navigating themselves and kids around the city. Other people might prefer the country or the suburbs. Anyway. This chapter is a bunch of You Have Privileges As A Reproductive Vessel like it’s your right to flip someone the bird if they don’t hold the door open for you, mother of child person, and blah blah keep the kid in a stroller until junior high and bring snacks and take them out for activities. And “Join a Mom’s Group” which has clearly worked out well for her.

Chapter Sixteen is “Huck the Scorpio” and is just a paper copy of her “To Birth A Soul” post from 5 years ago.

Chapter Seventeen is called “On Nursing”, and is basically Natalie reminding us that she is super thin by telling us she has to wear training bras, and apparently she is still lactating a year after she stopped breastfeeding. She then declares that nursing “is so dreamy” and says she has been dreaming about breastfeeding since high school. She  says breastfeeding “is like, super controversial” because obviously the entire planet outside of The Bump forums gives a crap whether you give your kid formula or boob. She then offers you tips on how to breastfeed in public, and offers such never-before-heard ideas like find a quiet spot but if you can’t then whip it out right there because you’re a mom and you are allowed to do whatever you want, and wear a loose top. Basically it’s this post from 3 years ago.

THIS BOOK IS FULL OF NEW IDEAS

THIS BOOK IS FULL OF NEW IDEAS

Chapter Eighteen is “Mornings at Home” and it’s all about morning routines. It is full of helpful ideas such as picking the right “morning album” because you “just can’t beat a good soundtrack for putting on mascara”. She then lists a bunch of records from the Columbia House Basic b***h Wants To Be A Quirky Hipster collection – Bon Iver, Bob Dylan, Coltrane, The Pointer Sisters. Which is fine, but who cares? And this is the entire two page chapter on morning routines, by the way.

Chapter Nineteen is “On Grooves”. It starts off complaining about what a piece of crap her record player is, then somehow veers into talking about how her “husband had a bit of a nervous breakdown”. According to Natalie, he “totally cracked, is what happened”. When she begins to elaborate it becomes clear that basically he was having a hard time at work and needed a vacation and some Xanax, and Natalie saved the day by refusing to let him quit his job. Because plaid shirts don’t pay for themselves, I guess. She then lays out ideas for “beating The Blahs”, which she claims to have much experience in. It’s typical just-put-on-some-lipstick type crap advice – get out of your pajamas and go for a walk or watch “You’ve Got Mail”.

Which leads her into Chapter Twenty, “What Would Meg Ryan Do?” which is evidently a “manifesto on femininity”. Because I need advice about being a woman from Meg Ryan, who dumped the dad from Parent Trap so she could bang that Gladiator Crapbird, I guess. Anyway, it’s more rainbow cake woo about hanging more twinkle lights and “take care of yourself” which for Natalie means “get a manicure and forget to vote”.

Chapter Twenty-One (my god this book is never going to end is it) is “On Babies” and it’s basically “how to survive” Clomid, the $9 Wal-Mart prescription that finally allowed her to get pregnant. Then some blathering about x-rays and pregnancy tests. The chapter ends with another tank-top-clad shartface photo for no reason Meg Ryan can figure out.

Chapter Twenty-Two is “On Being the Boss of Your Poops”. This is the final chapter and her trying-hard-to-be-quirky metaphors have completely worn me down. Basically it starts off about potty training (who cares, take it to CafeMom ffs) and ends as some kind of rant about how she chooses to be happy because happiness is a choice and happy moments are your poops…what, what is she talking about?

She then ends the book with a “Resources” section which is – I Crap you not – a list of where to buy everything in the pictures in her book.

IN THE FUTURE WE WILL RSTYLE BOOKS

IN THE FUTURE WE WILL RSTYLE BOOKS

I told someone earlier “I didn’t think I could hate myself more than after that time at Fleet Week, but somehow reading this book has topped that.” I do not understand how 176 pages could feel SO ENDLESS. It’s like every Brady Bunch episode with Cousin Oliver bound in a book that you then beat yourself in the face with for 6 hours. The book itself has zero cohesion, there is literally no theme beyond “aren’t I ADORABLE hey look at all the expensive stuff I have”. It jumps all over the dang place; is it a Lucky Guide to Crap You Can Get At Madewell? Is it about motherhood? Is it Into The Gloss?

Fangirls will buy this and forget it the minute they are done instagramming it in a vignette and hoping Natalie acknowledges them. Other than that I really don’t see who the hole would have any use for this rambling pile of teenaged nonsense.