(graphic is not mine, found online)
I love Jersey Shore and I ain't ashamed of it one bit. I wouldn't even call it a 'guilty pleasure'. Leading up to show time every week, my friends and I would send each other obnoxious text messages and call each other just to shout, "Cabs are HEEEEEERE!" and hang up. The first seasons were my most favorites, though I watched the whole series. I did not get as into the spin-offs, because the strength of the show was these seven ridiculous people living together and being ridiculous and I loved it. Without cable, I have not been able to see the episodes of the new series, Family Vacation, but I still keep up with what is going on.
I wasn't reading this one for any of the 'shore-tested secrets' as advertised on the cover, but because it is Jersey Shore-related and it occurred to me that these books have been sitting on my TBR for ages and I should get to it, especially considering my new TBR goal I have going on. I figured it would be an easy read and I was right. It's not because it is terribly written or anything like that, it's put together pretty well. JWoww has always seemed like the realest one to me (and Pauly, too. Pauly just wants to have fun ALL THE TIME), and it was definitely her personality coming through in the way she writes. The book was exactly what I expected, nothing more and nothing less. There were some some really good solid bits of advice that, were I childless 20-something hanging out at The Shore, I'd definitely keep in mind. Then again, I am still the target audience even having a child, because as fans know, JWoww, Snooks, and Ronnie are married and/or have children now. It's kind of weird to 'grow up' together, but also kind of amusing. I am just glad all my drama has not played out on national television (cough*Ronnie*cough). I suppose this qualifies as a self-help book, but I more so looked at it as yet another way to get to know one of my reality faves, despite being a few years old.
I also find it amusing when people automatically assume because these people have become famous for being drunk and loud and hungover on said national television, that they must be stupid. This is not actually the case, and believe me, partying hard and being intelligent are not mutually exclusive. And if you don't believe me, please allow me to show you tons and tons of photos from undergrad and grad school where I am a hott fucking mess on the weekends, while busting my ass working two jobs and going to school for time, earning both a Bachelor's and a Master's in education.
In addition to the expected sections about hair, make-up, clothes, etc, Jenni adds a lot of thoughtful advice as well. If you've seen her on the show, you know she is pretty upfront - she will say what's on her mind, even when no one else will (except the time with the note in Miami. That whole situation was so messed up for everyone involved. What a clusterfuck!) She included a lot about healthy eating habits, work-outs, self-respect, staying safe when out for the evening, body positivity, and even some yummy Italian recipes - plus cocktails as well. She also shared some pretty personal stuff about a particularly unhealthy and abusive relationship that she had been in, and I think this story is especially important for those who look at JWoww as this super strong and confident woman. She is, but she also went through some shit, and it's part of her history but she is not trying to hide it. Her voice is authentic and she is by far one of the most relatable 'reality stars' in general.
Rating: 3 Stars
Obviously this one was written long before Snooki was married with three children, but much like JWoww's book, I was not exactly reading it for all the insider secrets. Also like JWoww's book, this was exactly what I expected: a look at the life of earl-seasons Snooki. This also reads very much the way she talks, and she is funny and ridiculous and someone who would be fun to hang out with at The Shore. We're not talking great literature here, but that's not its intention anyway, so why judge it like that? It's a fun summer/beach read, though like I said it is a bit dated now, seeing as how Snooki is now a wife and a mom. Still, it's a light read and a change of pace and was a good way to spend an hour or so.
Rating: 3 Stars
Here's another shocker for you: Vinny isn't a dumdum either.
This book differs from the other Jersey Shore fare, because it is a genuine, serious self-help book. I don't mean that the others were inauthentic in any way, but the others more so capitalized on the Shore connection and the guido/guidette life, whereas Vinny shares his struggle with anxiety and how he works to control it.
I never in a million years would have guessed that anxiety and stress were factors in Vin's life. He's always been the one who is so calm and wants no drama. (He was also one of the 'good boys' until Pauly corrupted him!) Here he shares his experiences starting in high school when he would have panic attacks come on out of no where. It became such a problem that he ended up moving back home during college because it got so bad, and was also with him throughout filming the first five seasons of the show.
There's nothing groundbreaking or new here, and Vin discusses at length the books and resources he has used in order to help keep the anxiety and stress at bay. He does not claim to be an expert, and is simply sharing a plan he has developed for himself that is working. So many people struggle with stress and/or anxiety in general (myself included - I get pretty intense a-typical migraines from stress and have meds to help control those migraines), and even to the point of officially being diagnosed with a stress or anxiety disorder. Don't be surprised by this book. Vinny is highly intelligent and explains a process that works for him. Wanting to share that so that he can help others is a great thing, and given his visibility in pop culture, it might encourage those struggling to seek help when knowing someone 'famous' deals with the same kinds of issues. We are not talking world-changing here, but there is enough room at the table for everyone to share their truths and shouldn't we all be trying to help one another, anyway?
Rating: 3 Stars
Ah yes, back to Snooks again.
Much like I said with Vinny's book, and Jenni's too, it is possible to be more than one kind of person. It apparently horrified some people when Nicole and her boyfriend announced they were having a baby, as though they actually expected her to continue going out and partying while pregnant. Let's be realistic here, folks. Not everyone you see on television is exactly one thing all the time. Babies make people grow up, thankfully, and that's what happened here. Make no mistake, she is still Snooki, but she also became a mom and got married, and that became part of who she is now.
Truthfully I wish I would have read this when I was pregnant with Eleanor. I feel like I would have been less irritated by some of the less comfortable parts of pregnancy, and the first few months afterwards had Snooki's voice been playing through my head, telling me what was to come. At least things would have still been funny. Okay, so cracked and bleeding nipples will never not hurt, so forget that part. Still, it would have been a kind of comfort anyway, had I read this then. We can always count on Snooki to be brutally honest, and that is exactly what you get here. Again, not groundbreaking, but kind of like talking with your pregnant BFF about all the things your non-pregnant BFFs wouldn't understand.