Why Girls are Weird, by Pamela Ribon

Amazon link

I stopped by the library yesterday to pick up some light reading to offset my Amazon nonfiction pile. While poking around, I saw this book, and the title amused me, as did the descriptions, so I borrowed it.

Ribon is apparently an online diarist, who put together a fictionalized account of the process of becoming an online celebrity. Her protagonist, Anna K, starts writing an online journal to teach herself HTML (Ribon apparently used edited versions of several of her own posts), and puts up stories about herself, stretching the truth to make her life more compelling, most notably claiming to still have a fabulous relationship with her ex-boyfriend. As time goes on, her journal attracts a readership, she gets fan mail, starts meeting some of her more stalker-ish readers, and her online journal life and her real life start interacting in more and more complicated ways. It’s romantic-comedy-ish (and apparently the film rights have been optioned). Very light, and a quick read, but fun.

It does address some issues with online identity in passing. When we are in public, we try to represent ourselves in the most favorable way possible. When writing online, it’s always tempting to re-frame things to make one seem cleverer or wittier than one is in real life, to avoid talking about the embarrassing things. I’ve noticed it even in writing this blog, which has primarily friends and family reading it, and tends to stick to book reviews and rants about bizarre topics, rarely venturing into the personal. I have been fortunate to not yet have to face the tension between my online identity and my real world identity, because they’re pretty closely tied. But I can sympathize with the struggles of Ribon’s protagonist as she does.

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