If Carrie Bradshaw were a real person (even though many of us like to think she is a real person), this is a book she would write. In reality, the author of “Exes & Ohs” is Shallon Lester and she’s most famous for being one of the stars of MTV’s “Downtown Girls“. She’s also well-known for her comical blog which I recently discovered and will continue to read from here on out. Her work is also found in a gossip column in the New York Daily News and she’s an associate editor for FHM magazine. In fairness, I’d only heard her name a couple of times before, but I knew I was going to enjoy this book after reading these sentences in the foreword,
Unfortunately, I wish that these 17 tales of love, loss, revenge, hockey, condoms, car thieves, hookers, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and many, many men are nothing more than fantasies. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy these tales as much as my therapist has.
Who wouldn’t want to continue reading after that enticing introduction. The seventeen stories that I read made me laugh out loud and shake my head. Typically when you read essays and stories that actually happened you can relate to them, you often find yourself saying “oh I’ve been there/done that”. This will not be the case when you read Shallon Lester’s adventures of a twenty something’s life in New York City. Let me explain, one story is about how she dressed as a Ninja Turtle for Halloween and it led to her official ban from a popular dance club. There’s another story that involves an ex-boyfriend, a missing shoe, a bike and Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl. See what I mean… these are not things that happen to the typical 20-year-old, but that’s what makes this collection so unique. It’s the bizarre life of an aspiring superstar and I loved every single essay.
My favorite story of the whole collection, hands down, was the essay titled, “My Chemical (Peel) Romance” in which Shallon discusses the things we do for love, especially when it comes to celebrities. We’ve all been there, ripping 8×10 pictures out of Bop… well in Shallon’s case, she first fell for Tom Cruise, Garth Brooks, Prince William and once had a framed photo of Josh Hartnett on her nightstand. Things went into high gear when she first saw the band My Chemical Romance’s guitarist Frank Lero. She had just come out of a bad relationship and decides to make it her sole purpose in life to become emo and win the heart and affection of pasty Frank. This includes going to endless measures to look like one of the kids from Twilight. I swear that when you read this essay, you will crack up laughing!
Even though I found it hard to relate on a personal level to her stories, because of their uniqueness, each story was built on a foundation of fabulous friendships. It continuously made me want to call my friends and relive hilarious and unique situations we’ve been through over the years. Things kept jogging my memory as I read this humourous collection of essays, especially this quote; “When I moved to New York, people had all sorts of advice about staying safe. Keep your money in a waist belt, avoid the subway after sundown, don’t trust red heads - the usual.” I chuckled after reading this sentence because of the comical video I taped one night where one of my best friends, Liz catches sight of a red-headed man who knows how to bust a move… listen for my favorite sentence ever spoke from Liz’s mouth – “…because you’re a ginger, I dig it”.
After watching this clip, please be sure to pick up Shallon Lester’s new book that’s in stores now and should be read on the beach and then handed out to all your favorite friends who love a good laugh!