The reason I give this a 10 out of 10 is not because I like it, but rather because I hate it. Why would I give something I hate a 10 out of 10 rating? Simply because it’s true, and I hate to admit that. This book is me. It’s my family and my friends. It’s everyone. It’s even you, whether or not you’ve cracked open the first page of it—you’re in it. With monsters such as The Depressus (personification of depression) and The Two-Faced Bitch (personification of “that” bitch’s lifestyle and attitude), it’s easy to see where Shinn is going with this.
Typically, if someone is that two-faced bitch, we don’t tell her, right? And if we have depression, we don’t say, “Ugh, that damn monster is in me again,” unless we are using it as a hyperbolic metaphor for the extreme sadness and chemical imbalance we have. The fact of the matter is, Shinn is the only one of us who has the guts to tell us, “This is the kind of person you are,” or “This perfectly describes you.” We might know “that” person, and we might have “this” plaguing us. But we don’t say it—until now.
As much as I want to say I don’t label myself or others, it is true that by human nature, we all do. Don’t you judge the person who is high and comes into the grocery store to buy food for the munchies? Don’t you judge your friend who says they’ll talk to a guy about you, but ends up going out with said guy herself? And doesn’t nearly everyone judge the mentally disordered? Yes, yes, and yes. Where do you think we got words like “slut” or “junkie?” Judgment and labeling.
These judgments and labels all come together in this book of truth. Shinn offers us a book that is so real that you’ll laugh and you’ll cry and you’ll get so angry that you’ll probably curse the Shinn name, but you know in the deepest depths of your heart, that what she’s writing is true. We get these labels with descriptions about them and their actions, so you can better identify everyone you know. This is pretty much a dictionary of personality traits, personified into monsters.
We don’t only get the words, though. Shinn’s illustrations are creative and imaginative, giving new faces to the people we know and [pretend to] love every day of our [Depressus-controlled] lives. Imagining new creatures isn’t easy work, but Shinn does a fine job of twisting what we all think of each other into almost frightening versions of ourselves.
If you can, pick this book up, and see how many emotions go through you as you start to identify people you know, and even yourself, in it. As much as I hate this book for its judgment and labeling, I love it so much that I can’t stop reading it. I promise you, this book will not disappoint any expectations you have. And if, by chance, it does disappoint you, you’re probably one of the worst personality creatures in it!
Ms. Shinn, if you’re reading this, just know that I now have an overwhelming desire to go people watching with you.
Written & Illustrated by: Christie Shinn