I devoured this book. I couldn’t wait to get back to it. I was already listening to an audiobook by another female comedian born in 1984 but I Might Regret This kept pulling me back. Maybe my body needed the action of reading paper, not listening to narration, at this particular time. Maybe it was the vulnerable hopeless/hopeful heartbreak that suited my mood. Maybe it’s because Abbi Jacobson has less of a social media presence, so I wasn’t overdosed on her content. Maybe it’s just a good book.
Abbi Jacobson is one half of the Comedy Central show Broad City (with Ilana Glazer) about a couple of feminist Jews in pursuit of joy and success in New York. On the show they play friends named Abbi and Ilana, and the characters are heavily inspired by real life. The show is empowering and feminist and rebellious. And full of joy. The one frustrating thing about it is that the characters are self-sabotaging and sometimes agonizingly air-headed. In reading I Might Regret This I was able to separate that spinning-your-wheels mentality from the real lives of these creators. Which is to say, real-life Abbi Jacobson is smart.
The book takes place on a three-week solo road trip Jacobson took from New York to L.A. after getting her heart broken, and while Jacobson deviates into childhood memories and career moments, the road trip structure gives the book a drive that’s lacking in other celebrity memoir essay collections. We want to know what city she’ll hit next, and what she thinks of it. We also want to know how her mental health is doing, and what new revelations she’s had on her ability to love. Where other essay collections are a series of vaguely-related thought experiments, I Might Regret This has a heart, and every chapter beats from that.
I Might Regret This strikes an enticing note at honesty, not social media oversharing; at vulnerable, not navel-gazing. How did Abbi Jacobson do this? She navigates unsorted feelings about her sexuality, her love life, her family, her sleep, and her purpose as an artist. She alludes to topics too hurtful to touch, and we respect her keeping these things private. They help us think about our own locked-up topics (or not think about them) while offering fresh perspectives on the human experience. Her voice is assured and steady, even as she describes life’s grey areas. And she’s funny.
“I was doing it, putting myself out there in this new interesting place. I fell asleep picturing the beautiful and impeccably stacked homemade blackberry scones in store for me tomorrow morning at breakfast. Or rhubarb. Or…both!
And with the first light of the morning sun–I shot up in bed:
They didn’t own and operate a bed-and-breakfast in Gilmore Girls, it was an inn! It was the Dragonfly INN!
What have I done?
Right. Bed-and-breakfasts aren’t where you go to be alone, or to make space and room in which to process what may or may not, later in life, be considered one of the most transformational years in your entire existence! No! You don’t do that. The mere mention of staying at a bed-and-breakfast makes some people uncomfortable–it did when I told them!”
Maybe I just loved this book because I also had a traumatizing experience at a bed-and-breakfast whilst in the middle of a life-changing crisis. But isn’t that enough?
(Illustration by Amy Attas inspired by Abbi Jacobson’s illustrations in the above-illustrated book)