The Anti-Cool Girl

Rosie Waterland

The Anti-Cool Girl
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The Anti-Cool Girl

Rosie Waterland

A dark, funny and subversive memoir about surviving the very worst that life can throw at you, Rosie Waterland’s story of her coming of age is a blackly comic Australian memoir for our times and a clarion call for all anti-cool girls everywhere.


Rosie Waterland is the survivor of one of the most appalling childhoods since Augusten Burroughs. There were rehab stays and AA meetings. there were overdoses, dramas, suicide attempts. There were narrow escapes from drug dealers, not to mention a numerous round of dodgy men in and out of her mother’s life. They endlessly moved houses, countries, schools, squats. There was neglect, endless DOCS workers and the occasional abusive foster parent. Rosie and her sisters became Mormon, Catholic, Wiccan, Christian. There was a second marriage and divorce. Rosie watched as her dad passed out/was arrested/vomited/cried. There were frustrated family members with no time for kids. Rosie had to talk her mum out of killing herself and watched as her dad’s coffin was lowered into the ground.

But Rosie is far more than the sum of her parts.

The quality that lies at the heart of Rosie’s appeal is her straight-up, unaffected directness - her ability to say what she really thinks, to call it as she sees it. She’s kind of an Everygirl. the Anti-Cool Girl that we all want to be. She’s funny, honest and inspirational. She is our Caitlin Moran, our very own Lena Dunham, and she will tell a uniquely Australian story, in only the way that a straight-talking Australian girl can say it.

Think Angela’s Ashes crossed with Lena Dunham, with a dash of Chopper Read.

Review

Rosie Waterland is frank, fearless and very, very funny. Reading her memoir, The Anti-Cool Girl, feels in many ways like sitting down to chat with a complete over-sharer (a no-holds barred, here’s-my-entire-life-story-so-far kind of conversation that takes place over a bottle or more of wine, and ends at dawn with emotional declarations of life-long friendship). At 28-years old, Waterland is known to many for her hugely successful, laugh-out-loud funny recaps of The Bachelor on Mamamia. But in focusing on her own chaotic upbringing in The Anti-Cool Girl, Waterland proves that she’s more than just a talented comedy writer.

The blurb for The Anti-Cool Girl reads like a checklist for a soap opera: addict parents, overdoses, butchers’ knife attacks, rehab stints, eating disorders, schoolyard bullying, abusive foster parents, suicide attempts and living in the shadow of a near-perfect, beautiful older sister. It would be easy to dismiss a list like this as stranger than fiction. But, like Augusten Burroughs’ Running with Scissors, Waterland’s skill lies in retelling her life events in a blackly funny way that keeps the reader giggling and engrossed throughout.

In turn, when she steps away from the jokes to talk honestly about her experiences, Waterland’s writing is unfussy and raw. Reading these passages feels like being hit straight in the gut. Scenes such as coming to terms with her father’s death, or descriptions of the moments that her mother demonstrated real, tender love, are powerful because Waterland proves that she doesn’t always need to lace every story with her trademark wit.

Waterland has packed a lot into 28 years, and her experiences as a child and teenager encompass many of the toughest things life can throw at a person. While The Anti-Cool Girl does not shy away from tackling some heavy issues, Waterland’s strength as a storyteller allows the reader to trust that a sense of humour (and bucket loads of resilience) can take you all the way – and it makes for riveting reading.


Stella Charls is the marketing and events coordinator for Readings

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