I get a lot of requests to review books by various authors. Buy My Book: Not Because You Should, But Because I’d Like Some Money by John Marszalkowski was my favorite because it was the very first inquiry I got. It also helped me to open more doors in the book reviewing industry, and I could not be more thankful. It brings me a great pleasure to say these words again: and now for something completely different: a memoir written by an average person with an average life so far with a non-linear structure.
When one reads a memoir, it is usually written by a celebrity or a person who’s had an extraordinary life, and it has a beginning, middle, and end. But has anyone read a memoir written by an average person with an average life so far with a non-linear structure? Has one ever thought that this was possible? John Edward Marszalkowski has successfully filled that gap with his humorous, self-deprecating debut book Buy My Book, Not Because You Should, But Because I’d Like Some Money.
As a father with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and co-host of the podcast “Who Are We to Podcast?”, Marszalkowski describes his experiences with and opinions about work, life, politics, finance, the fifth dimensions, etc. But don’t expect that he wrote this book for the readers (well he did that to a certain degree). He mainly wrote it to get his life story out there.
I did not know what to expect when I first received this book. In fact, when I found out about this book, my fiancé thought that it was about finance. And boy, we were wrong to a certain degree.
While reading it, I never knew what to expect from each page, yet the more I read it, the more I was excited to see what was going to unfold. I mean, there is an entire chapter written in German; I tried to decipher some of it thanks to my four years of German in high school. Furthermore, there is an entire chapter written by Steve Keiller – one of Marszalkowski’s dearest friends and the other co-host of “Who Are We to Podcast?” – because he wanted to. It was as if Marszalkowski imagined himself as the announcer from Monty Python’s Flying Circus saying, “And now for something completely different” before each chapter started, or maybe in the case of the German chapter, “Und jetzt für etwas völlig verscheiden”. Additionally, most of the chapters end with a worksheet that reflects on what was discussed. I could not have asked for a more engaging book than this.
This all works because the non-linear structure allows Marszalkowski’s ADHD to ramble all over the place. As another reviewer mentioned, each chapter is its own standalone segment. This permits readers to jump around as much as they want to or to read it in a more conventional way. There is no preference.
Another aspect that works is that Marszalkowski pours out his heart onto every page. He gives his honest opinions on various topics regardless of what anyone else think despite that some of what he said flew over my head (*cough the fifth dimensions). Moreover, he offers the sincerest thanks to the people that have helped him throughout the years. I thought the chapter about him finding a sense of community with the help of Anna Van Deusen – a youth church choir director – in spite of him on the verge of losing his religion as a teen was very poignant. Throughout high school, I went to my church’s youth group because of that sense of community although I was not all that religious.
In spite of all the praise that I give, I will admit that Buy My Book, Not Because You Should, But Because I’d Like Some Money might not be for everyone. Some readers might be confused and/or taken aback by the memoir’s structure and would want to read a more conventional autobiography. However, if readers are willing to give this memoir a chance, they will not be disappointed as it is something completely and wonderfully different.
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