I Hate Everyone, Except You entered my life at the perfect time. I listened to a David Sedaris book last week and was unimpressed with some of his more edgy material. Clinton Kelly has the snark and sass of Sedaris, but, in my opinion, more heart and empathy. Let’s just say, if Sedaris’ book was a hard drug, the Kelly book equivalent would be “a little fresca on a panty shield” loc 1784, ebook. Perhaps uncensored, he’s more honest and vulgar than what his fans usually see, but he’s real. I really enjoyed this one, but don’t go into it expecting Kelly to parade himself around as the fashionista from What Not to Wear the whole time. It is definitely not that.
Kelly’s dialogue (inner and outer) is hilarious. Take this moment, he’s psyched himself up and gone on an interview for an editorial position at a fashion mag and he’s asked to wait: “I’ll hang out here in the lobby,” I said. Yep, I’ll just sit in that plastic chair facing the door, watching my dreams rot like a bowl of fruit on time-lapse video. Thanks so much. Employees began to arrive, coffees in hand, and quite frankly, I had expected them to be better looking. … Sure, some of them were so skinny you could see through them, but they didn’t look happy about it. I had been expecting to work among anorexic women who radiated inner strength, not soul-crushing hunger. And what was with all the joyless denim? loc 375, ebook. It makes me wonder what he would say if he saw my office crowd. Maybe I wouldn’t want to know.
Kelly isn’t religious but he seems to be spiritual in that he believes people should live authentically every moment for as long as they can. Here’s what he has to say about it: “… the older I get…, the less Destiny and Fate-and their cousin, Faith, for that matter-concern me. For some, the opposite is true. Men and women on their deathbeds, old as the Appalachaians, wondering what it was “all about”. So foolish. I must admit, perhaps to the detriment of your esteem for me, that my sympathy for such wonderers is minimal. Imagine being given a life and not understanding until its ugly end that the point was to live it.” loc 494, ebook. I can see how that attitude could offend some people, so, here’s your warning. He’s not anti-religion necessarily. He’s pro- figuring out what works for you.
How he found his way onto What Not to Wear was New Age in the extreme and I’m so glad he recorded it here for us. He didn’t like his current job and wasn’t sure what to do, so he talked to his friend: “She suggested that I ask the Universe for guidance. I wasn’t quite sure how to do that until I read a couple of books by Caroline Myss, in which she explained that if you ask the Universe for help, it will provide help.” loc 512. Not to spoil the story, but guess what he did? I’ve read a bunch of New Age stuff and, honestly, Caroline Myss is hard core, sometimes angry even, and unapologetic about it. If I was asked to recommend a Law of Attraction author to a complete new comer to the topic, I’d pick Abraham Hicks, but whatever works. Kelly found what he needed when he needed it and he didn’t even know it was missing- the very essence of New Age teachings.
My favorite part of the whole book: “When What Not to Wear ended a few years ago, many reporters asked me about my favorite and least favorite makeovers and the worst fashion faux pas I had ever witnessed. But not a single one asked me what I had learned about women over ten years of listening to their concerns about their bodies and their clothes. … Women want to feel beautiful. I’ve never met one who said she didn’t, and believe me, I’ve asked around.” loc 602, ebook. Yes! And why would women want to feel beautiful? Because they would think they were worthy of love then. So, at the end of the day, what does every woman, man, child on earth want? Love.
Kelly talks about his failed and successful relationships in an honest manner, never denying that his own foibles could be why things tanked:“What probably kept us together was Rick’s ability to produce a level of rage in me so profound it actually inspired out-of-body experiences.” loc 2097, ebook. Funny, no?
Highly recommended for people who liked, but didn’t love David Sedaris or readers who enjoy humorous/tell-all memoirs. Some similar books: I’m Just a Person, The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year, or Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child.
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery books for a free digital advance reader’s copy of this book. And, thank you for reading.