Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture

By Melissa Amster

If you don't know this already, I will fill you in on a little secret...I am known amongst my friends as the Pop Culture Queen. One of them went as far as calling me the Melissa Movie Database. If that alone doesn't tell you why "My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture," by Danielle Turchiano, was PERFECT for me to read, then you don't really know me at all....

At the age of twenty-five, @DanielleTBD is a romantic, a dreamer, a skeptic, a cynic, and still holding out the hope that she will someday find a real life Zack Morris... Despite growing up in a household that only featured the seven-channel options of rabbit ears' television, DanielleTBD still managed to spend the better part of the 1990s learning her life lessons by watching fictional characters experience them. Using Zack & Kelly, Jesse & Rebecca, and Monica & Chandler as her guides for what strong, successful couples were supposed to look like, she set out, perhaps a bit misguided, to find a suitor of her own that would fit nicely into the mold countless sitcoms carved out for her. But something went horribly awry, and she was forced to come to terms with the fact that all she looked to when she was a child to tell her what real life could be was, in fact, only relevant for a reel life. "My Life, Made Possible" is a true tale, though it may be a cautionary one. (Synopsis courtesy of

While reading this book, I told one of my girlfriends that I had found my literary soul sister. Danielle is quite a bit younger than me, but it was like she was speaking my language. The girlfriend I had been talking about this with knows how often I compare people (including myself) to characters on TV shows. And it's not just people, but also situations. And Danielle references all my favorites from Full House to Saved by the Bell to Friends! I love how she comes up with nicknames for the guys she mentions, as I love coming up with nicknames for people. She would have loved "X-Files Guy," named because he did a parody of The X-Files for a class project in college and played Mulder. I think I crushed on him for that reason ahead of the fact that he was actually cute. And she would have loved my e-mails with another girlfriend, where we compare our relationships to those on TV shows, which all started with an episode of Glee from sometime in the past year. (I then went on to tell this friend how I compare my marriage to that of Lily and Marshall's on How I Met Your Mother.)

Another thing that won me over was that she devotes part of a chapter to Rent (the stage musical, not the movie). Be still, my beating heart! If Danielle and I had been living in the same area (and been close in age so that we would have actually had the realistic opportunity to meet), I would have totally been waiting outside for front-row Rent tickets with her. And we would have been quizzing each other on Saved by the Bell and Friends trivia. (Side note: My husband and I once spent a date quizzing each other about SBTB and another girlfriend and I would e-mail Friends questions back and forth.)

While "My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture" is short and sweet (and made me e-mail Danielle after each chapter to tell her what I could relate about), I wish it had been more about different aspects of pop culture. While I love talking and reading about TV, it would have been nice to hear about her perspective on movies and music, as well. That, and I wish it had gone more in order instead of jumping back and forth in time. It's a fun read overall and TV junkies like myself (who aren't even as addicted as some other people I know and will not name) will definitely appreciate Danielle's experiences and nostalgic references.

Thanks to Danielle for the e-book in exchange for an honest review. She is giving away some e-books (worldwide) along with her interview!

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