It Chooses You by Miranda July

Miranda July has written what is probably my favorite collection of short stories, “No One Belongs Here More Than You” and is the writer/director of two movies I really like, “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and “The Future” so I had high hopes for this book.  Although there were interesting tid-bits in the book, I find her other work to be much more compelling.

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The thing I really enjoyed about this book was the insight into July’s quirky mind and her creative process.  The book picks up with July being stuck while writing and trying to get funding for her new, yet to be made movie, “The Future.” For some reason she decides she will interview one person who is selling something in a little newspaper called “PennySaver.”  In this weekly newspaper, it’s free for a person to advertise anything they are selling as long as it’s under $10.  So July picks out a person each week (I think for 13 weeks) and goes to meet and interview them about their life and what they are selling.

At first it’s a bit hard to get into because some of the interviews are fairly boring and trite. But then some of the interviewees turn out to be really bizarre and interesting, like the man under house arrest or the woman who is selling a hair dryer whose daughter sings her a Miley Cyrus song.

However, I think that some of the interviews could be seen as exploitive. Not that that’s what July’s intention was, but she interviews some people that one never reads about in mainstream media, the very poor who don’t have internet access and so are selling cheap things in a newspaper.  I don’t think July means to exploit these people but it’s obvious she is not really from their world and is pretty brazen in some of the questions she asks. Read the rest of this entry »