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Talking with chick-lit blogger Stephanie Klein

Writer Stephanie Klein specializes in sentences like "Metrosexuals and their Eurosexual cousins can’t kiss worth their weight in manscaping supplies." In her sometimes schmaltzy, sometimes bitchy beach read, Straight Up & Dirty: A Memoir, she proves she can be funny, too ("I sensed his idea of talking dirty was telling me he had a cock"). In this recently released tell-all, the 30-year-old blogger recounts her Jewish doctor husband’s indifference and cheating and her later misadventures in Internet dating, all with a self-help sheen. On the lighter side, she scorns her fellow supermarket shoppers, drops name brands, and showers affection on her dog, Linus.

At her blog Greek Tragedy (stephanieklein.blogs.com), she reigns over a feisty comments section, shares photos, fears and confessions, and asks for waxing recommendations. Klein's me-me-me writing even prompted a parody site, Tale of Two Sisters (goldsteins.typepad.com). Currently settled in Austin with a fiancé, she’s writing an NBC pilot based on her book, about to go on tour, and preparing for "babies and more books."

How soon after your marriage ended did you start writing the book? Technically, I waited three years. But I've always kept a handwritten journal. The hardest part of the process was re-reading my journal entries, seeing where my head had been. Of course, recounting the details of my abortion wasn't easy either.

Don’t get her started about Internet dating.
photo: Jennifer Hanser
Don’t get her started about Internet dating.

The biggest transition finds you going from being in love with your husband, eager to have his baby, to feeling utterly betrayed by his extracurricular activities. Was it as sudden as it's portrayed? YES! It's what I now call "whiplash." My life was plugging along, and then WHACK. Everything changed.

What was the biggest dating lesson you had to learn being single the second time around? To be with the guy because I actually like him, for him, and not for how much he likes me. Too often I continued to date someone I didn't really like because of how well they treated me. It was subconscious, of course, because I got my esteem from men instead of from myself.

How do you feel about the Carrie Bradshaw comparison? Yawn. Is it flattering? Yes. Is it old? Hell yes. Carrie Bradshaw is a fictional character (one I adored, by the way), but you'd never know she had a family. I highlight the importance of family, and I write honestly about my life. Not a fictional life involving stacks of shoes, but a real life full of frizz and picking dog shit up off my floor.

How has the process of blogging your daily life changed your closest relationships? It hasn't. At first, close friends expressed feeling "cheap," because stories and feelings I usually reserved just for them were now being shared with everyone. But they got over it, and now if I confide something, they're the first to say, "You have to write about this on the blog."

You write in the acknowledgements that success is about "inspiring change." Do you see yourself as a role model for your readers? Man, what I went through just plain sucked, but it did, in the end, make me grow, make me happier, make my dreams come true. I hope it gives readers strength to listen to their gut and follow through, even when it's hard.

Why do you think you've inspired so much ire amongst your fellow bloggers, as well as devotion from your faithful readers? I don't think there's been a lot of wrath actually (and when there has been, I never respond). The ironic bit is, like Howard Stern, those who love to hate me probably tune in to my site twice as often as those who just enjoy what I have to say. It's easy to attack a woman who writes "chick-lit" using the phrase "vomit in my mouth" to describe it. My faithful readers appreciate that I'm willing to write openly about my vulnerabilities, mistakes, and successes.

What do you hope readers take away from the book? That you're not a failure if a relationship ends, that change happens sometimes by choice, and sometimes it's thrust upon us, but it's how we respond that defines us.

Is it a cautionary tale? Yes. It's a book I wish someone had handed me when I first got engaged.


Straight Up & Dirty: A Memoir (ReganBooks) is available now. Klein will be signing books at Borders, 10 Columbus Circle, on Wednesday, August 2 at 7 p.m.

 
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