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My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un) Popular Culture

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  676 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
In the vein of New York Times bestsellers Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby, a collection of side-splitting and illuminating essays by the popular stand-up comedian, alum of Chelsea Lately and The Mindy Project, and host of truTV’s Talk Show the Game Show.

From a young age, Guy Branum always felt as if he were on the outside
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Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Atria Books
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Larry H
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

"We talk about nature and nurture when analyzing a person's character. We see two ways that an identity is formed. One is biological, the mean of parents' traits passed down genetically. The other is environmental: How did the world around this person guide and encourage him? The problem is that by either of these methods, I shouldn't be me. I should be shorter and dumber and not at all concerned with what pairs well with star anise syrup in a cocktail." (BTW, it's notes of orange.)

At
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I have an addiction to celebrity memoirs, especially those of comedians. I've read and/or listened to dozens of them, and though I'd never heard of Guy Branum, the cover and his work credits made me interested.

To be honest, I expected something... funny. All of the comedian memoirs I've read have been funny, or at least, tried to be funny. My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un) Popular Culture didn't.

The book is really a memoir of someone's life as an outsider in a medium-sized, admittedl
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Ulysses Dietz
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My Life as a Goddess (A Memoir Through (Un)popular Culture)
By Guy Branum
Published by Atria (division of Simon & Schuster), 2018
Five stars

Guy Branum’s brilliant memoir is essentially J.D. Vance’s overly-praised “Hillbilly Elegy” as written by a funny gay man. I surely didn’t expect that when I bought it, but there you are. What this book really drove home to me – again – is that gay men need to write our stories, because we’re still largely getting left out of mainstream history (which means
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Erin Cataldi
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will admit, I had no idea who Guy was before I read this book, not even an iota. After reading this though, I am in awe that I somehow completely overlooked his whole career. He's so funny! How did our paths never cross? Part memoir, part humor, part history and pop culture lesson; this memoir is unique and entirely fun to read. I'm a huge fan of footnotes and there are A TON of footnotes; humorous asides, sarcastic comments, clarification, etc. It's genius! The stories I enjoyed the most were ...more
Glenn
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this more than I did. Bits are laugh out loud funny, but over all it feels flat. Mr Branum is obviously quite smart and witty but I was hoping fore more in the vein of David Sedaris and less in the vein of a literary journal.
Taurie
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got this book as a goodreads giveaway not knowing anything about Guy Branum. I was looking forward to a funny memoir, but this book was mostly Guy describing tv shows and movies. I don’t feel like I learned many things about him and I certainly didn’t laugh.
Molly
I didn't know anything about Guy Branum previously, but now I am a huge fan. Branum is a stand-up comedian/actor/writer/lawyer/all-around talented fella. He is also gay, very tall, and very large. And he's very, very good at trivia and quiz bowls. (You will be better at both those things as well if you read this book and remember even 1/3 of the references - there's a Jenny Holzer allusion, FFS!)

Though this book is full of humorous autobiographical essays, it's also got a ton of great insights i
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Erin
Sep 01, 2018 added it
This was a lovely read. I'm mostly familiar with Guy from his podcast, Pop Rocket, and I loved his thorough analysis of multiple topics in this book.

Guy is incredibly funny, but he also manages to convey incredible pain and general cultural analysis. Many parts of this book aren't a laugh riot, but that's fine by me. In my opinion, the purchase was worth it simply for the amazing chapter "The Man Who Watched The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
Adam Sockel
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are countless celebrity memoirs in the world and almost as many where people tell their story about coming out but few are as insightful and powerful as Guy's. He manages to tell his side of the story while also thoroughly breaking down the aspects of his story beyond himself. He is well read, quick witted and hilarious. I've long enjoyed his stand up and his comedic writing but the aspects of this story that really moved me are when he uses unflinching honesty to explain his relationship ...more
Matthew Faulkner
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I hate critiquing memoirs. Who am I to judge someone else’s life and experience?

This book was difficult to slug through. 50% of this book was fascinating and I could deeply relate to. There were lines from the book I wanted to share with friends and family and be like, wow, this guy is me! His college experience, coming out story and fascination of all things pop culture resonated deeply with me.

But then 50% of the book were strange allegories that I could not connect with. Guy devoted an entir
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Tim Mclaughlin
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. I wish I could go back in time and give it to myself when I was 15. Guy is hilarious, obviously, but he also has some of the most insightful analysis of issues affecting gay men. His writing is super intelligent, but also super approachable.
John Amory
May 30, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The first few chapters on Guy's youth were amusing and kind of fun, but there's a lot of bitterness that comes through in later chapters and one essay that's particularly problematic and just put me off entirely.
Nikiverse
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, memoir, netgalley
I initially picked this book because I remember Guy as one of the panelists on Chelsea Lately. But this isn't a normal comedian memoir. Guy grew up in the turdish part of California where he did not fit in. But he was a voracious reader and media consumer. And he eventually went to law school and started stand up comedy (I think in that order). So he's an interesting guy, this Guy.

"You had no idea that buying the book by the gay guy from Chelsea Lately would have this much agriculture in it, di
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LeAnn Locher
The audio quality of this book is pretty bad: Guy fluctuates from yelling to quietly talking, and each chapter segues with horrible music. WHY PUT MUSIC IN AN AUDIO BOOK?! But then there's the content....I'm a fan of Samantha Irby, and the description of this book being in the same vein as Samantha Irby is just plain wrong. She's funny, side splitting hilarious. Guy Branum's book is pretty chock full of unabashed privilige, whining, and hiding behind humor for some ugly behavior. Ugh. I wanted t ...more
Moira
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Guy, one of my favorite podcasters, brings his intellectual wit to his very funny and very nerdy memoir.
amanda eve
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A blisteringly witty, incredibly insightful memoir. I'm a fan of celeb memoirs, and this is definitely high on my list.
Viktoria
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Preface: I didn't know who Guy Branum was before reading it. I don't watch much TV. I've only absorbed about 10% of pop culture over the past 10 years.

And yet, this book is hilarious! It's worth listening to for his rants about Canada, Babette's Feast, RBG, and various historical facts alone. I didn't know him before but I'd like to go out for cocktails with Guy now.
Richard Parent
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As someone who's never watched the TV shows Chelsea Lately or The Mindy Project (don't judge me!), Branum wasn't a familiar face or name to me. But his story of his life growing up gay in Yuba City and then his adventures in TV and film did feel very familiar to me. With grace and humor, Branum uses all of the major touchpoints of pop culture (TV, film, music, the Hollywood Industrial Complex) to show us a different perspective on the things we take for granted and he tells us enough about himse ...more
Cameron Harrie
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was smart to include the subtitle of this book, "A Memoir through (Un) Popular Culture." This is by-and-large a book of cultural critiques and to some degree, straight-up descriptions of plots of movies and TV shows. Many of the cultural references from his childhood are admittedly outside of my own timeline, but I understood a fair amount. If you are someone who knows of Guy from his truly fabulous podcast "Pop Rocket," you won't be out-of-place, until Guy derides you for probably not gettin ...more
John August
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Terrific in ways I hadn't expected. I've read a lot of comedian memoirs. They're all funny and insightful the ways you expect them to be. And so is Guy Branum's book.

But what surprised me was how vividly he captured growing up in rural northern California. It's not just that he was a swan born into a family of ducks; that's true for many (most?) gay people. It was the specificity of his little farm town that stuck out, and the odd way that dust bowl had deposited them all there by chance. He was
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Manda
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know of Guy from the podcast world and always enjoy his contributions, so picked the audiobook to listen to. It was intelligent, insightful and occasionally funny, but the storytelling dragged and felt repetitive. Maybe it's shallow, but the truth is I was hoping for more career dish/celebrity gossip. Instead, this was all basically glossed over in one of the very last chapters. And while I knew I SHOULD appreciate the long detours on topics like Canadian and Punjabi history, I didn't - it fel ...more
Allison
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have always been a fan of Guy but this book made me love him even more. I teared up often reading this starting at the just first chapter because I was so inspired by the story behind the title of the book. This book taught me so many things about words, pop culture, and random historical events all while making me laugh. He has incredible take on how pop culture that will forever change how I view T.V. shows and movies. He discusses in depth with many examples about the power they have in hel ...more
Laura
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Received from Net Galley in exchange for review.

This was, overall, an enjoyable book. At times I felt that Branum didn't tie chapters and sections together as well as he could have and there were definitely a few stances he took that I didn't love, but this was well-written, amusing, and heart-felt. I also obviously enjoyed reading about somebody else that wasted three years going to law school
Jennifer
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got this as an ARC from NetGalley.

Guy's a great writer and I appreciated his candor, humor, and all the random bits of historical and cultural knowledge sprinkled throughout.

El_kiablo
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Guy Branum's book is an interesting case study in the benefits and limits of what we might call "woke comedy." On the one hand, the way that he mixes humor in with sociological insight can be good; when it works it makes the jokes feel more substantial and it makes the sociology feel less ponderous. But when it doesn't work - well, then it ruins both of them, by sucking the fun out of the jokes and by making the sociological sections feel petty.

Overall I think Branum gets the balance right - the
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Joseph Nevarez
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been aware of Guy Branum for the better part of a decade. Though I've never been a huge fan, I've always held him in high esteem as a writer for many of my favorite celebrities (Mindy Kaling, Billy Eichner, W. Kamau Bell, Chelsea Handler). To me, he falls under the longish line of funny celebrities who are more insightful and admirable than they are knee-slap hilarious (see: Trevor Noah, Aziz Ansari, the aforementioned W. Kamau Bell). This isn't even a slight because I love these people as ...more
Jane
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Within five minutes of Guy Branum's book, I was hooked. I mean, it's pretty obvious the cover is amazing and captivating, with a shirtless Guy cheekily clutching flowers wearing a Mona Lisa smile. It's clear from the get-go, this man has something unique. My knowledge of him was pretty limited, I heard him on a few podcasts and enjoyed his input, but I didn't know enough about Guy to want to read an entire book about him. I'm glad I did. My Life as a Goddess is one of those books I would recomme ...more
Amanda
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Every time I took a reading break, I couldn't wait to get right back into it. It's so funny and smart, even during the parts that are painful and heartbreaking. I laughed out loud and teared up within the first 50 pages; it's an emotional journey for sure. Having grown up in Northern California with a difficult father myself, I found a lot to relate to in Guy's life because so much of it is relatable. Guy has gone through many difficult times and come out the other side strong ...more
Larry Hostetler
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Actually, a 4.5. Other than a couple of places where the narrative bogged down (including near the end where he went into WAY too much detail comparing two TV shows about TV shows) I found the book to be humorous, educational, engagingly introspective, explicating, and yet a very good read.

It is difficult to describe the contents because there are so many aspects to the story; yes, it's a memoir, but it is much more.

I found it particularly moving to read about his personal struggles with his ho
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thebakedbook
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, brilliant, genius
This book is so good! His mind just boggled my mind so many times. I loved that he talked about the history of Canada, and different movies in the context of his life. He is super media literate, and make a lot of points about gay porn and the "gay voice" that made so much sense to me.

He has a very broad mind, and doesn't get bogged down in the mundane. He quickly related small concepts to huge historical ideas. There was a lovely chapter on Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and he talked about the mechanic
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The Backlot Gay B...: My Life as a Goddess, by Guy Branum 1 4 Sep 03, 2018 04:37AM  
“I’m not supposed to like myself, and I’m certainly not supposed to think that I should matter. The world has spent a lot of time telling me that, and in the past thirty or so years, I often listened, because we all listen. The world is mostly full of fine facts and good lessons, but some of those facts and lessons were built to keep you down.” 1 likes
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