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The One You Want to Marry (And Other Identities I've Had): A Memoir Kindle Edition
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A hilarious and heartfelt memoir about finding your true voice by Sophie Santos, the fearless comic and host of The Lesbian Agenda.
From the self-proclaimed Queen of the Stunted Late Bloomers and one of the most exciting emerging voices in comedy comes an honestly funny memoir about the awkward, cringeworthy, hilarious, and longest possible journey of coming of age and into her own.
The only child of a perpetually transferring Filipino-Spanish US Army officer and a spitfire nurse, Sophie Santos spent her early years starting over again and again—and accumulating her fair share of anxieties. Growing up in 99.6 percent white communities, where girls had to learn to flash Vaseline-capped smiles before they’d be considered real women, Sophie adapted. Determined to fit in, she transformed from a tomboy misfit into a hormone-crazed beauty pageant contestant and a southern sorority girl, among other personalities. She nailed each role she took on, not shockingly, but nothing seemed to fit her true self.
In her twenties, floundering and locked in her bedroom with lesbian YouTube clips playing on repeat, Sophie began to understand that her true self might be more tomboy misfit than southern belle. That realization set her off on a journey that led her through an unexpected lesbian puberty and eventually toward a New York comedy career.
One of Shondaland’s Best Books of October 2021
“[A] hilarious, identity-affirming memoir…a must read for anyone who has ever struggled to just be.” —Shondaland
“Her breezy tone feels intimate and makes the more serious and somber moments—such as her first comprehension of race (and the term ‘ethnically ambiguous’), her struggles with mental health, and rueful admissions of having mistreated former girlfriends—hit all the harder. LGBTQ millennials are sure to find a kindred spirit, warts and all, in these clever pages.” —Publishers Weekly
“Sophie Santos isn’t your average comedian…she details the plot points of her own life—like constant moves due to her dad’s gig in the Army and her stint in pageantry—with hilarious aplomb.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Kept me completely enthralled throughout…written in a casual, intensely readable style that reminds me of reading someone’s diary, complete with an uncensored look at every aspect of their life…Santos does not shy away…it’s a story about running from yourself, chasing mirages of who you are, and what happens when you’re finally forced to stand still and face yourself…it’s a messy process, and this book embraces that. I hope that young readers that feel like they’re doing it wrong, who are embarrassed about how long it took them to come out, or who are struggling to get stability in their adult identities, find this book.” —Book Riot’s All the Books podcast
“Quite funny. Santos rips through stories that are awkward, painfully relatable or even deeply embarrassing…that frankness helped me keep rooting for her…a story that’s less about coming out and more about finally coming into your own.” —Autostraddle
“Sophie Santos is a surprising and gifted writer, and I’m grateful to her for sharing her many lives with me, and us all, with this terrific debut that made me LAUGH, and then laugh more.” —Matt Rogers, comedian, entertainer, and cohost of the Las Culturistas podcast
“Very honest, very funny, a total delight. The one you want to read.” —Isaac Oliver, author of Intimacy Idiot
From the Publisher
Sophie Santos, the biracial daughter of a Filipino and Spanish lieutenant colonel in the army and a strong Southern nurse, struggled to belong in her community. Through peewee football, puberty, pageant life, and the University of Alabama sorority sisterhood (where she found herself pledging at a sorority known for attracting girls who were great “wife material”), Sophie tried her best to blend in. But she was the definition of a late bloomer. It wasn’t until years later that she came to embrace her queer identity and discovered her comedic voice onstage.
The One You Want to Marry is a memoir filled with funny, heartbreaking, and, yes, some very cringey moments, and I was charmed by Sophie’s irresistible voice and her inspiring journey. This book is a gift for anyone who has taken the long route to finding their place in the world.
—Laura Van der Veer, Editor
- ASIN : B08SQX94JT
- Publisher : TOPPLE Books & Little A (October 1, 2021)
- Publication date : October 1, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 64806 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 369 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #36,964 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I appreciate the level of snark and sarcasm. It's sprinkled thoughout and like finishing salt on a steak, it makes it far tastier.
Her descriptions did become a bit monotonous especially in regards to her ambiguous feelings about her own sexuality. I am a straight, white, middle aged woman so what do I know about being a lesbian? But it got old.
She tells her story in a very linear fashion. You get a complete story up to her current status but there are certain things that I felt we got too much of and others that she gave us only a nibble. Her college years felt like they droned on but her battles with OCD (something I deal with) are almost gloseed over. Sure she mentions them and talks about her need to do things to prevent bad things from happening but for me, it felt shortchanged. Your mileage may vary.
There are aspects of the book that are universal to the human experience. I can certainly commiserate with her feelings when they would be transferred and she had barely made friends. I wasn't an army brat. We moved more often than that.
I am also Southern (yes with a capital S) so I get the accent and that football is life and MRS degrees far too well. But she goes further by putting her sexual history on full display. She's either incredibly brave or naive about how it will be received. She even owns up to exactly how many male sexual partners she's had and is very forthcoming about her same sex encounters. If that bothers you, move on.
I only found one very minor typo. It's technically almost flawless. The chapter headings and her footnotes gave me a few giggles. (On the Kindle edition, you can touch the highlighted numbers in the body of the text and it will take you straight to the footnote and then touch it to return back to the book. Just in case you didn't know.)
Overall, the book is eye opening to the sexual experience for at least one Southern lesbian. I didn't laugh out loud or highlight things to share with friends. The best I can do is 4 stars.
The author not only lampoons herself, but her version of the “Lesbian Lifestyle” is not really helpful, although – as related to my criterion of authenticity – may indeed be valid for her own life experience. Again, as I’ve said in other reviews of memoirs, everyone has their own story, and deserves the freedom to tell it in their own way. Still, although I accept this for Santos, she doesn’t speak to me as sincerely as I wish she would.
A lesbian herself, easily the key focus of the book, Santos shares with equal parts heart and humor her childhood experiences from growing up with a military father to a move to Arab, Alabama to fumbling toward female friendships and secretly held crushes at church camp.
I wanted to love "The One You Want to Marry," a well-intended semi-memoir that struggles to, rather ironically, find its voice amidst Santos's obvious efforts to be both honest and funny. The funny often works, the honest occasionally works, but mostly "The One You Want to Marry" feels an awful lot like a series of comedy sound bytes in search of a meaningful punch line of sorts.
"The One You Want to Marry" isn't a bad book. Far from it. It's simply not the book it could have been if Santos had laid off "the act" and shown up a little more transparently and with more of a literary roadmap. A good editor should have helped direct this journey, however, the editing of "The One You Want to Marry" is seriously lacking. In fact, I'd lay more of the issues with "The One You Want to Marry" on the editing than the writing.
The truth is that there are moments in "The One You Want to Marry" that are absolutely brilliant. I adored Santos's early family stories and her relationship with her mother is compelling material.
There was so much potential in the church material to create meaningful stories for those also struggling to find their voice, however, Santos largely squanders the opportunity with to create truly meaningful comedy here. You can tell that these experiences were meaningful for Santos, however, she fails to connect them and settles for comedy without any sense of purpose.
The same felt true for those college years. This was seemingly the time when Santos really began openly living into her identity as a lesbian in ways both profoundly sweet and a little brutal. Chapter 25 is a brutally honest chapter of "The One You Want to Marry" and I tip my hat to Santos for including it. It includes much of that transparency that I believe will be meaningful for her readers - yet, quite honestly, it's also surprisingly funny.
The last few chapters of "The One You Want to Marry" feel rushed. It's as if someone realized "Hey, I've got a 400-page book and no one actually knows who I am. Maybe I should end this thing."
At times toward the end, "The One You Want to Marry" feels like one of those movies you watch that has multiple false endings. It's as if there was more to say, yet Santos also knew she had to end somewhere. Indeed, there's so much inspirational to be found in Santos's journey from fumbling college student to increasingly successful college writer finding herself amongst lesbian voices and lesbian techsters who embraced her like she'd not yet learned to embrace herself. This section of "The One You Want to Marry" was easily among the most profound and emotionally resonant of the book.
Sophie Santos is an up-and-coming comedy writer and, indeed, "The One You Want to Marry" often feels like it comes from a writer still discovering her voice and learning how to use it. While "The One You Want to Marry" never quite becomes the brilliant work I'd hoped it would be it's still a valuable and enjoyable read for anyone coming-of-age and especially those doing so as LGBTQ youth or in environments where they're struggling to be themselves in a world that doesn't quite understand or accept.
Top reviews from other countries
Biographies and humour are both very personal things. It's like your favourite curry house. You know when the chef is having a night off.
Well this was like popping into a new curry house, only to find that the delivery driver is having a go at cooking.
No disrespect meant or implied towards, Indian restaurants, chefs or delivery drivers.
Good luck finding your next Beekeeper of Aleppo.
I do not receive any payment or free goods for writing these reviews. I am just happy to share my views on my purchases with fellow like minded Amazonians in the hope that you may find it helpful.
In The One You Want To Marry (And Other Identities I’ve Had), Sophie tells us the story of her life, from military kid growing up in boys’ clothes, through early sexual exploration, ignorance of self, embrace of self, right the way through to grown-up, degree-having, podcast-hosting lesbian. Her honesty is, in some ways, bracing. There are things in the book I can’t imagine she’d want close friends or neighbours reading. But, by turns amusing and real, we get a very clear portrait of the young woman of today.
When reading a book about a real person, they generally have to have lived heroic lives, be celebrated on a global scale, or have interesting stories of history as they watched it unfold, to keep the reader engaged. Otherwise, it seems like everybody’s life story could be the basis for a book. I suppose some people get around this by fictionalising their lives; using the basic reality of all that happened, but transporting it to another time and place. I get the feeling, had that happened in this instance, it might have made a better narrative. Perhaps that seems a little harsh. It just felt, to me, like it could have been so much more.
I was introduced to the world of pageants and sororities through Sophie's anecdotes, and also learned about 'Every Fifteen Minutes' (A nightmare inducing programme designed to discourage high school students from drunk and/or distracted driving!). She is also very honest about her experiences with mental health, including OCD and PTSD, which is tackled with sensitivity and humour.
Reading this book, I felt like I was having a chat with my best friend. I feel like her voice and personality leap off the page, giving this book so much life.
If you like a millennial memoir, with oodles of comedic flair, I suggest you treat your TBR to this little gem.
And there's an amazing anecdote about the time her high school ran an anti-drunk-driving campaign with the local police that just _happened_ to take place when the town was debating whether to allow beer sales at all.