Review: Elf Girl by Rev Jen

Title: Elf Girl

Author: Rev Jen

Published: Gallery November 2011

Synopsis: From the acclaimed author of Live Nude Elf, Rev Jen recounts her rise from art school misfit to “patron saint of the uncool” in this wry, irreverent memoir. Artist, mail-order Reverend, and all-around creative type Rev Jen is known for sporting elf ears and being curator of a Troll Museum inside her sixth-floor walkup apartment on the lower east side of New York City. She counts among her accomplishments being creator and host of “Anti-Slam,” an open-mike series where everyone gets a perfect ten (which The Village Voice calls “performance meets cry for help”), and working as a Christmas Elf at Bloomingdales. Now, this anti- Sex and the City girl and cheerleader for nonconformists, geeks, and oddballs of the world delivers a funnier, quirkier version of I Was Told There’d Be Cake or The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club . She’s zany, eccentric, and hopeful, and her unchecked candor makes her impossible not to love, as she recounts various tales from her colorful life.

Status: Read on October 26, 2011 — I own a copy {Courtesy Simon & Schuster}

My Thoughts:

I had never heard of Rev Jean but the blurb of Elf Girl promised humour and wry observation and I was hoping for something lighthearted from this memoir as I needed a break from some recent somber reads.
I did smile in a few places, but shook my head in a lot more and a little psych 101 may be the saboteur in this case, because mostly I felt a sort of pity for Rev Jen. This is an autobiography of a persona that has devoured it’s host, and while she seems to believe it is all wildly exciting and special it seems to me that she is mostly lost and directionless. Jen’s love life is a series of shambling disasters, she drinks and drugs more often than she eats and subsists in poverty.
Constantly striving to outdo herself Rev Jen takes maniacal glee in creating shock and awe amongst her friends and strangers. Art may well be subjective but just as I find Jason Pollock’s supposed genius inexplicable I fail to see the the artistic merit in pancake batter, painting a penis purple on stage or pretending to be a fifth teletubby. There is no sense of irony here either, the Anti-Slam participants take them selves incredibly seriously despite the sheer lunacy. I imagine some of it is fun when you are in the midst of the craziness and have a bit of a buzz going but as an outsider I view it as mostly just bizarre and desperate.
The epilogue is probably the most revealing and honestly introspective section of the book. Despite being of similar age to Jen my life has taken a completely different direction and while she talks of the freedom of being an unconventional artiste I actually think she may have less, tangled up in “panic, anxiety, low self esteem, hypomania and Budweiser” as she is.
Unfortunately I couldn’t lose myself in the antics of Rev Jen and friends to enjoy this book. Perhaps the current crop of restless twenty somethings will admire her irreverence, I can only wish her a happy life, whatever that means to her.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melliane
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 22:53:43

    I’am sorry this book didn’t work for you…

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  2. Ann
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 05:10:19

    Sounds odd – great review
    Ann

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  3. Amanda
    Nov 05, 2011 @ 13:01:09

    I loved it and found it very entertaining and humorous.. to each their own I suppose.

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