I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a cranky person. I hate chipper people who mouth platitudes like “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.” So it’s comforting to see that I’m not the only person who thinks that “To each his own” is simply a nice way of saying “Weirdo!” I Hate This Place: The Pessimist’s Guide to Life by Jimmy and Gloria Fallon is a collection of balms for those of us who prefer not to make lemonade from our lemons, but to wait for the lemons to get rotten and throw them at people.
Jimmy Fallon is, of course, best known for his sly, snide work as a co-anchor on the “Weekend Update” segments of Saturday Night Live. I Hate This Place has the same deadpan absurdity as those skits. He and his sister Gloria, a writer and fashion columnist, have assembled a number of delightfully depressing statements, such as “When I see professional clowns, mimes or people who make balloon animals, I always think of their relatives, and how disappointed they must be” and “Every time I talk to someone, I know I’m just wasting their time.” With their pointed and, in some cases, oddly insightful meditations on the dimmer side of life, they’re kind of like the kids you knew in high school who read poetry and dressed all in black – except the Fallons are a whole lot funnier.
Their chapters have titles like “Optimistic Advice You Should Never Follow.” My favorite is the “When People Say …” chapter, which contains such words of wisdom as “When people say ‘That’s the way the cookie crumbles,’ they really mean ‘Sucks to be you, pal.’”
My only quibble is with the book’s downbeat illustrations, which have little to do with the text (the only connection is, of course, resounding pessimism) and make it a little bit hard to read. But that’s a minor complaint. Overall, I Hate This Place, is a hearty, mindless wallow in all things negative and spirit-crushing. It’s my kind of book.