Miss New York Has Everything

Published By: 5 Spot

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Biography & Autobiography

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Reviewed by Laura Langer

Remember the first months of college? The summer you spent as a camp counselor? The times in your life when you went somewhere or started something where the rest of the world was outside your immediate circle--and you were meeting new people all starting the same thing you were?

Reading Lori Jakiela's memoir Miss New York Has Everything is a lot like getting to know your dorm-mates or the other camp counselors. You share your stories, you tell your tales. And, there's usually one person who's just a bit funnier, wittier, more penetrating in her stories than everyone else. That's Lori Jakiela.

Her memoir is populated with her family, including the aunt who was both a nun and a drug addict, the people she went to school with, her co-workers, customers, and a few "people on the street." There's nothing of high drama here--no tales of a raging alcoholic parent, no child abuse, no life of desperation.

Jakiela (rhymes with tequila) just tells the story of a little girl who dreamed she could be Ann Marie of "That Girl" fame, and live a life of glamour, poetry, and love in New York. The title comes from an episode of "That Girl," which is Jakiela's inspiration for getting out of western Pennsylvania and finding that life of excitement in New York.

She tells her stories well, and she doesn't waste any time on self-pity or second-guessing her own life choices. She just lays it out, and does it with a fine sense of humor and a take-no-prisoners look at everything around her. She names names, and calls her own life just as she sees it.

What's most intriguing about this memoir is that Jakiela is sharing with her reader her own very typical struggle, to be more than her own history, to make the choices that will make her happy, and that detours don't write the ending.

She gives up New York reluctantly, in the end, to find the life she was looking for somewhere else. What she's willing to share is the range of joy and numbing drudgery that makes up a lot of lives--at least until you figure out what "everything" is and where to find it.

Armchair Interviews says: If you're looking for an honest look at life's ordinary struggles from a talented writer, you'll enjoy this.

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