Title: Sorry I’m Late I Didn’t Want To Come
Author: Jessica Pan
What I Think So Far: To most, the idea of performing stand-up comedy or travelling solo is probably a scary prospect. To introverts, this is what the most terrifying of nightmares are made of. Jessica Pan’s book Sorry I’m Late I Didn’t Want To Come chronicles her year of living like an extrovert, with each chapter full of laugh out loud – and some more reflective – moments, as she repeatedly ventures way beyond her comfort zone.
Pan starts her book with a chapter entitled ‘Rock Bottom’, which details the moment she decided to try life as an extrovert. Without spoiling it for you, it involves a sauna, wrestling blogs, and an archnemesis named Portia. While this makes for hilarious reading, it also deals with the moment of crisis/everything going wrong phase I’m sure most readers can relate to. At this point, you can either choose to change something in your life to make yourself happier or go on as you are until you reach the next rock bottom moment. The following chapters document Pan’s extroverted exploits, from public speaking and hosting dinner parties to networking and taking improv classes. Each chapter follows a similar structure, with Pan first consulting an expert (or just a helpful friend) about her next mission, before going on to work towards and subsequently complete it. She doesn’t succeed every time, but where she fails, she keeps trying again until she is happy with the results.
As a recent convert to essay collections and works of non-fiction, I felt I connected with Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come on a far deeper level than anticipated. It’s colloquial language and personable approach make it incredibly easy to identify and sympathise with. I have found that some of the recent releases which deal with some of the same issues – notably Pandora Sykes’ How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right – are stiffer in tone, which in turn distances the reader. Pan’s simultaneous warmth and brutal honesty are what make the book instantly devourable, but the things she learns along the way are what make it important.
Would I Recommend It? It should come as no surprise that I would recommend this book without hesitation. Pan manages to juxtapose emotion and humour in the best way possible. Whether you are a raging extrovert or a shy introvert, this book will open your mind to how the other half lives, ensuring you that you are completely normal wherever you sit on the extrovert-introvert scale. Whilst it may not make you feel like taking to the stage at the next Edinburgh Fringe just yet, it will help you learn how to do more things that scare you, which can only be a good thing.
Words by Talya Honebeek
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