The book that more than 12 million YouTube subscribers have been waiting for! Shane Dawson’s memoir features twenty original essays—uncensored yet surprisingly sweet.
From his first vlog back in 2008 to his full-length film directorial debut Not Cool, Shane Dawson has been an open book when it comes to documenting his life. But behind the music video spoofs, TMI love life details, and outrageous commentary on everything the celebrity and Internet world has the nerve to dish out is a guy who grew up in a financially challenged but loving home in Long Beach, California, and who suffered all the teasing and social limitations that arise when you’re a morbidly obese kid with a pretty face, your mom is your best friend, and you can’t get a date to save your life.
In I Hate Myselfie, Shane steps away from his larger-than-life Internet persona and takes us deep into the experiences of an eccentric and introverted kid, who by observing the strange world around him developed a talent that would inspire millions of fans. Intelligent, hilarious, heartbreaking, and raw, I Hate Myselfie is a collection of eighteen personal essays about how messy life can get when you’re growing up and how rewarding it can feel when the clean-up is (pretty much) done.
YouTuber books are hit-and-misses for me. Unfortunately, I Hate Myselfie by Shane Dawson was a miss. I would recommend anyone who isn’t used to his content on YouTuber to not read this book as they are extremely similar. However, if you enjoyed his older content on YouTuber you may enjoy it. I personally enjoyed some of his videos but couldn’t stand them in book form.
It’s more fictions than facts
Let’s be honest here, this book is definitely not 100% accurate. I’m not too sure how much of it is fiction and how much of it is facts, but Shane definitely abandoned accuracy in favour of humour and dramatic effects. The stories sounded like some of his YouTube skits – he is a character and so is everyone around him.
Unlike a lot of the other YouTubers who also have autobiographies, Shane seemed to be trying really hard to keep up his brand he created on YouTube. I was told that his usual self is different from his YouTube persona and that this book would be about the “real” him, at the very beginning of the book. Well, that wasn’t true.
He was honest about the who, when, where and what of the event. Then he would tell a joke as a defensive mechanism. How other people reacted, how he reacted, and what the event actually meant to him, the important parts, are all distorted and exaggerated to be a part of the joke. The way he wrapped himself in this armour called “humour” strikes me as guarded, defensive, and insecure.
I don’t have the rights to demand someone to open up and have a heart-to-heart confession on a book accessible to the whole world, and this book is technically “a collection of essays” and not an “autobiography. However, it still shouldn’t have been labelled as non-fiction, and he shouldn’t have said he would reveal him true self in the beginning, as that’s just not true.
You will love or hate his humour
As I have said before, it is obvious that instead of revealing his “true self” like most other YouTubers did in their autobiographies, Shane chose to keep his YouTube persona up in this book. By doing so, he also transferred his style of dark humour he used in his videos into book form. I understand why a lot of people got offended by this book. It did have a lot of offensive jokes on date rape, fat people, and so on. I won’t go into details of this allegations, you can see them on Goodreads yourself. I would give Shane the benefit of the doubt and see those jokes as satirical, as most of his videos are satirical. His jokes are often aimed at himself, sometimes at others. The only thing is comment is they are deprecating and offensive.
For the jokes themselves, unfortunately, I found them forced, cringe-worthy, and frankly, quite tasteless. Again, I understand that he is not trying to be offensive, but it’s just not my cup of tea. I listened to the whole audiobook with a deadpan face, occasionally trying not to grimace. His jokes were just so sad that I couldn’t bring myself to laugh at them. I understand the philosophy of laughing at your own misery. However, has he made a joke every 2 sentences on average, his life is either utterly miserable, or he over-abused the use of jokes about human waste as a defence mechanism. It was just simply way too much.
Again, please don’t take the stories seriously
What bothers me more than the jokes are the supernatural “real life stories”. As established before, I don’t see it as more than a work of fiction, and when I read the parts on “supernatural encounters”, such as astral projections, demon encounters and meeting his dead grandmother as a young woman, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
I know that a big part of Shane’s content focuses on supernatural, ghosts and psychics. I don’t believe in ghosts, demons or psychics, and I would like to say “you can believe in whatever you want, there is no harm to that”, but I can’t as I would be lying. Scepticism and science are what makes our society advance, and believing that you can communicate with another world through a plastic cursor on a plastic board, or that the ladies who just received your hard-earn money can tell you about your past lives, are not signs of a future scholar or scientist. Also, seeing that he pushes the cursor on the ouija board when playing with fellow YouTubers (yes he did), I’m really not sure if he himself believes in them either. From what I saw in the comment sections of his videos, most of his audience have supernatural beliefs, that are reinforced, if not installed, by his videos surrounding these topics.
I find it dangerous that young children are told that ghosts and demons are real, through “personal real life stories” by someone they trust. While I agree that nothing is impossible and that we should always keep an open mind, reading comments from young teenage girls getting outraged over a certain YouTuber forgetting to say “goodbye” after an Ouija board video is just disturbing. I just hope young girls would not abandon rationality and logics over blind beliefs to supernatural beings and psychics because of “anecdotes”. Promoting anti-science beliefs at this stage of life is damaging and inhibiting children from learning how to be sceptical and logical. I consider it to be more damaging than racist, misogynistic jokes that are mostly satirical and already condemned by society.
Body Image Issues
However, the book was not all horrible. I do think Shane had touched on important topics such as body image issues, especially in men, which are not addressed enough nowadays. I personally wasn’t in need of such inspiration (?), but I do hope that young boys and girls out there can benefit from the insight from someone who experienced body dysphoria and other health-related problems.