I’ve been a longtime fan of spoken word poet, rapper, and writer George Watsky. In November 2014, I saw him in D.C. on his tour in support of his then recent release All You Can Do. So when I heard that he had an essay collection out, I was pumped, if a bit wary that maybe his writing wouldn’t be as potent and bombastic as the words he assembles and delivers onstage and on albums.
Fortunately, Watsky remained true to his voice and his delivery of his misadventures are just as vibrant, hilarious, and quirky as his other creative endeavors. In many ways, this reminded me of a more privileged, Millennial version of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son. Watsky’s essays are just as jam-packed with unusual characters, drug usage, and uncommon adventures both mundane and adrenalin-spiking. For me, the standouts in this collections are “Crying & Baseball,” “What Year Is It?,” and “Good Hook!.” But no essay in this collection is lackluster as each delivers a different slice of Watsky’s life.
If you’re interested in a taste of what he has to offer, Watsky has put together a film adaptation of one of his essays, “Ask Me What I’m Doing Tonight!”
While I don’t think this collection offers any great life lessons, the humor and introspection are enjoyable. I laughed out loud. I was enamored with the robustness of his writing (my professor was right, strong verbs and nouns are the way to go). I reveled in all the places he traveled and how he was able to find purpose and meaning in every strange incident. If you’re looking for a life to escape into without sacrificing emotion and meaning, this is a great book for a mental vacation.
Title(s): How to Ruin Everything: Essays
Author(s): George Watsky
Overall Rating: 5/5
Format Accessed: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Additional Reading: AllHipHop’s interview with George Watsky about How to Ruin Everything