Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You Review: Lists > Story

June 29, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You Review: Lists > StoryMe Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Published by Simon and Schuster Australia on April 23, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!

Darren hasn't had an easy year.

There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.

Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.

Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy's debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:

1. painful
2. unavoidable
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You is a story told entirely in lists. Lists about Darren’s family, his thought processes, the music he plays, the lunch that he eats, what he tells his therapist…you get the idea. For those of you who love to digest everything in neat, categorical, bite-sized lists, this book would be for you. But for those of you who want to just get to the point of it all, without being told the exact details of a car or a list of the days of the week right in the middle of a story, Me Being Me could be frustrating.

4 Terms for Whatever It Is Darren is Clearly Suffering from Not Ten Minutes After Waking Up
1. Anxiety
2. Nerves
3. Shpilkes
4. Weak kidney energy

Lucky for me, I really like lists, and enjoyed the original storytelling of Me Being Me. It’s amazing how I became invested in Darren’s life, as the book listed out his feelings, sporadic thoughts and fears, adjectives and exchanges, text messages and phone calls. Behind some of the lighter exchanges, are some deep encounters which Darren will have dealing with his parent’s divorce, seeing both of them move on, discovering his dad is gay, re-connecting with his stoner brother in college.

This is one of the most realistic male perspectives I’ve ever read, of a teenager who isn’t particularly verbose. Newsflash, teenage guys don’t just think about sex every waking moment. Conversations are kept short, without fear of going too deep. Darren manages to avoid every topic that could lead to meaningful discussions…which makes him pretty hard to sympathise with, or get to know. I find it hard to describe Darren to you, upon finishing this 600 page book other than surly and actually kind of average.

Only it’s not Zoe, or the Zoe he remember, but a warm, friendly, funny, and extroverted Zoey, a Zoey other regular, normal human beings would approve of and know what to do with, a Zoey who wouldn’t indirectly turn him into a smoker or disappear on him or break his dim-witted, gullible heart. 

I couldn’t see the obsession with Zoe though, who Darren has an encounter with early in the book and continues to pine over for the bulk of it. Even though there’s a lot going on in his life, he is always thinking about Zoe. Zoe is dark, angsty and clearly has more than a few issues of her own, so I really couldn’t see what was so great about her. Especially when Darren kept on wanting her to be different or to change in his mind. But perhaps there was something in her that Darren could really relate to.

More than once, Me Being Me made me raise my eyebrows about the liberty of pot smoking in the book. I know it happens, and I know it’s out there, but seriously, to that degree? I don’t enjoy reading about people getting high all the time. It’s just not for me.

Although Nate was a grounding force to Darren’s life, from time to time he would say a few ignorant phrases about their gay dad that I found quite offensive.


Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You is a novel and interesting way of telling a story. The lists were creative and well-thought out, although there were times when we were given a bit too much information that didn’t seem to add too much value to the story. Despite not being invested in the romance, pot smoking and some of it’s characters, I enjoyed the honest male perspective. But if you take the lists away and look at the overall story? Nothing spectacular.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me this book for review. 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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48 responses to “Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You Review: Lists > Story

  1. Paula M

    But I'm a romance junkie 🙁 It affects my reading a lot. Anyway, I really agree with you Jeann about the creativity and uniqueness of how this novel was written. Maybe I'll just lower my expectation :)) Great review Jeann! And thanks so much for the heads up.

  2. Charnell

    Great review! I have seen a few reviews for this book now and it's definitely got me deciding that it's a book I don't want to read. It sounds quite interesting, but I just don't think the style would work for me at all.

  3. danielyoo14

    The thing that I'm worried about regarding this book is exactly what you mentioned- that there might be a lot of extraneous information. I like books that get straight to the point, so I may skip this one. Thoughtful review!
    My recent post Sporadic Summer Reading Challenge

  4. I love stories with list! Too bad the list didn't do too much for the book. I actually haven't heard of this book before, but it sounds like an interesting. Sorry to hear you didn't connect with it!
    Thanks for the review, Jeann!

  5. A novel entirely in list form? Oh dear, I don't think I could handle it, it might drive me a bit bonkers lol I like paragraphs too much! Also drugs. Nooope. I can't stand cigarettes, let alone pot :/ So um…I shall steer clear of this one, but thank you for your enlightening review that made me decide to avoid it 😉
    My recent post Wattle’s Wonderings #4 – Supanova 2015 & PTA Live

  6. I had the same issues with this one too Jeann. While I did enjoy the strange and pretty realistic coming of age side, I had real issues how jarring the lists were. I just couldn't connect to Darren at all. I loved his father though, patient and loving and more so than what Darren really deserved at times. Zoey was the only interesting aspect, but she was just too fleeting and I wish she had of been developed, her character felt more like a small guest role. Darren was just too jerky. Glad you were able to enjoy it somewhat though Jeann and lovely review <3
    My recent post Cover Reveal: STRAY by Rachael Craw

  7. danielleisbusyreading

    I think I have seen this book around the blogosphere before, but I had no idea it was written in lists. That's pretty cool! I love lists, but it'd be interesting to see if I'd like a book full of them.
    Lovely review!

  8. Faye M.

    I'm not sure this is something I'd wnat to read right away! Lists are cool, but a story told mainly in lists wouldn't really connect to me at all because I want to be in the head of the people and see what they're thinking. Although it might be fun to go out of my comfort zone every once in a while… I did read 5 to 1 which was half told in verse and I loved it!
    My recent post ARC Review: Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

    • It actually did pretty well with the character development, with all things considered! Oooh I'm looking forward to picking up 5 to 1.

  9. bingeingonbooks

    Despite the fact that I love lists, I am just not sure I could write a book told in lists. Seems like maybe I wouldn;t be able to connect with the characters as much that way. I am glad you liked it though. 🙂

  10. I like lists, but not exactly an entire novel of one… I shudder at the thought. I feel like there will be vital parts missing, if you know what I mean.

  11. I like lists, but I definitely don't like it when there's no plot. I recently learned that even if the characters are awesome (which they don't seem like here), the plot really has to keep moving or else I'll be bored. So as unique as the writing style sounds, I think I will pass on this.

    Awesome review Jeann!
    My recent post Make Me Read It Read-a-Thon (Voting!)

  12. Zoe

    Zoe is dark, angsty and clearly has more than a few issues of her own.

    ^^ Let's be honest – I think this describes me wonderfully – LOL.

    I'm not sure this would be for me Jeann, to be completely honest – just in terms of the writing style. I'm a very "big picture" kind of person and the way this is written – with so many details – would most likely frustrate me. But I do love the idea of this kind of writing style – bravo to Todd for being so original.

    Thanks for sharing this and, as always, fabulous review! <33

    • LOL that does not sound like you at all, from what I can tell anyway Zoe! Yeah, I don't think this would be for you then, it would be frustrating with all the minor details covered in the lists. Thanks so much hun!

  13. I like lists.. sometimes 😀 I don't mind that much, but if the story is in lists, then I won't be able to understand it that much. The concept of the book sounds really creative though, surprised how the author managed to pull off only lists in such a long book 😀

    • It actually wasn't too bad to follow Benish! It was surprising and pulled off quite well to tell the story.

  14. Precious

    600 pages? O.O Seeing as I can barely handle 500, I think it'll be a while before I read this one. Lists are really cool, though! Although I'm also not sure if I can handle a book told entirely in lists and doesn't get to the point easily, so maybe this one just isn't for me.
    My recent post Time Traveling With Amalie Jahn

    • I know, it seems long but considering some of the page are short lists, it's quite quick to read. Fair enough though Precious, if it's not for you.

    • I think I first heard about it because of the massive title lol. Yeah, it's definitely a unique way to tell a story!

  15. Grace @ RebelMommyBB

    I am so a list person but I am not sure about a whole book of them. Still could be interesting to read just becasue it's different. Great review!

    • Yeah, I pretty much set aside any higher expectations and picked this one up because of that. Thanks Grace!

  16. It's interesting that the whole book is told in lists. I don't know how I would feel about that, to be honest. I usually struggle with books told in different styles. Also, I'm pretty sure I'll be annoyed with all the pot smoking and the weird obsession with Zoe.
    I'm glad you still liked this one though, Jeann!
    Lovely review!

  17. Wow. A 600 page book of nothing but lists? That takes some creativity on the author's part for sure! I think I'd be with you on the pot-smoking Jeann, I know it happens too, but I don't necessarily want to read about the frequency of it:) Lovely review as usual!
    My recent post Review: Court of Fives

    • Yup, there was lots of creativity and it was an interesting way to tell the story, but gosh the pot! So much of it lol

  18. Rachel Lightwood

    I've heard lots of the same sorts of comments before: great lists, interesting way of telling the story, but not a fantastic plot or characters. Still not sure whether I'll pick it up or not. Great review though, Jeann.
    My recent post Half a Year Gone Already

  19. Oh I TOTALLY agree with this. Like 100%. Darren….oh Darren…you are such a little idiot. I really felt disgusted with him for using the other girl (zomg, what was her name? I want to say Rachel, but I don't think that was it. >_<) to distract himself from Zoe. It's so rude and wrong. And he dumped her the very second he could and BOOM, lost any shred of respect I had for him. And yes, average, and who is even Darren? Apart from spoilt and self-obsessed?
    I wish more books were written in lists though because IT IS AWESOME.

    • Yeah, she was like the nicest human being ever and all he could do was obsess about someone else. It was horrible wasn't it?

  20. Yeah, I started reading this and then kind of…stopped, and started another book. I'll get back to it eventually but I feel like without the unique way of telling the story, it probably won't be that great :/

  21. Kara Terzis

    I LOVE LISTS. But a novel told entirely in lists…? I'm not so sure. I mean, half of me is saying, 'GOSH KARA YOU NEED THIS BOOK MORE THAN AIR, BECAUSE LISTS!', and the other part is wondering just how the author could pull that off. Lovely review!