‘This Is Really Happening: True Stories’ by Erin Chack


“This Is Really Happening” by Erin Chack reads like a humorous set of stories because that is what it is — it’s just that this funny — and at times outrageous — set of stories is totally true. At least to the best of Chack’s memory.

Chack is an editor for BuzzFeed, an online site, and she frequently reflects on how lucky she is to work there.

Many of the stories she writes about have been shared on her BuzzFeed pages. For example, “10 Times I Knew I Loved You” includes stories that are expanded upon in the book. The book includes some moments that many people would never consider sharing with their friends, much less the entire world.

Some of what she shares is touching as she struggles through her cancer treatment at the age of nineteen. Some of what she shares is funny even when it’s about something sad. She shares the story of how all her neighbors crowded around when a neighbor shaved her head during the cancer treatment. It’s simultaneously funny and touching. She writes descriptively about peeing in a public parking lot in London and what to do when there’s no toilet paper. So some of the book is actually educational, in a manner of speaking.

She also shares in minute detail her first adventure using a menstrual cup. The way she writes about it is what makes the story wonderful. “I awoke the next day around eight A.M. and zoomed into the bathroom, excited to see what my cup had harvested while I slept.” Unfortunately, the cup doesn’t want to come out. Several pages are devoted to what Chack (and her friends) went through to remove the obstinate item from inside her body.

Nothing is too private to share, but the stories somehow manage to be humorous instead of crude — at least to most readers, probably.

Chack’s no-hold’s-barred approach to this memoir makes it a quick, enjoyable read.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Razorbill, the publisher, for review purposes.

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