Faythe’s CBR-III Review #9: BADASS by Shannen Doherty

“Rather, my book is a guide that will tell you all about how I went from being a sometime bad girl, sometime confused girl, sometime angst-ridden girl to becoming a real badass. More than that, I hope it will be an inspiration. A motivation. A kick in the pants to gals everywhere to stop wasting their time and their talents because they don’t have the self-confidence to step up to the plate and give the world their best shot.

Hopefully, by the time you are done reading this book, you will have all the confidence and assurance you need to feel good in your skin, live life with moxie and style, and enjoy all the benefits of living the badass way. Whether we’re talking about dating, dealing with your frenemies, or having a completely amazing throw-down dinner party–you will do it with flair and guts, and have a ton of fun. I’ll share some of my tips, but what I really hope you will take away is this: being a badass is the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your friends, because being a badass means you are being true to yourself.”

Such is the opening missive from the introduction in this book, a book I first noticed sitting in the new book section of my library back in January (although it’s been out since November 2010) and passed up each time I came back out of embarrassment. I consider myself pretty up on current pop culture, but I had no idea that Shannen Doherty had even written a book. I hadn’t heard any press about it, never saw any interviews of her talking about it, nothing.  So I was quite surprised to see it sitting on the shelf in the self-help section. Finally, because it was still sitting there nearly 4 months later, I bit the bullet and took it up to the checkout counter. I just HAD to know–what in the world made Shannen think she could write a book giving advice on how to be a badass, and even more important–was it going to be good?

The book itself is more than just reading about being a badass, it uses lots of cool “badass” fonts in large type, the paper is heavy and thick, and the book is printed in color. The publisher spent a lot of money in the design for this book, that’s for sure.  However, Shannen is the art director for Pasadena Magazine, and she must have loved doing the layout design for her own book. There are tons of pictures sprinkled throughout, and most of them are of Shannen.  In fact, there are 87 pictures of her, and the book is 256 pages long–meaning on average that you can’t turn more than 3 pages without seeing her face. I found that kind of discomforting, as I’m used to celebrity books saving their pictures for the middle section and flipping through far less pictures all at once. I mean, I realize this book is about her and her current boyfriend Kurt Iswarienko is a photographer, but wow–overkill!

I’m not sure how effective this book actually is if one is trying to be a badass, but parts of it were (unintentionally) entertaining enough.  I found myself chuckling at some of her lists.

“The Badass 10 Commandments

1. Thou shalt live life to the fullest.
2. Thou shalt be true to thine own self.
3. Thou shalt never hide thy light, brains, or brawn under a bushel.
4. Thou shalt be clever.
5.Thou shalt have style.
6. Thou shalt pay attention.
7. Thou shalt trust thy gut.
8. Thou shalt always strive for excellence.
9. Thou shalt be confident.
10. Thou shalt be cool.”

There’s all sorts of random quotes highlighted by a bigger, bolder font in this book, and they are quite entertaining. “Badass girls give it up!” “I believe in letting a man be a man.” “Badass girls are a power to be reckoned with.” “Badasses do not stand in judgment of others.”

One page was titled “Trust me, guys like this” and she goes on to say “1. Dispense with the notion that men are laboratory animals and dogs, even though they are.” Wait. Is she telling me not to lump all men into the “bad” category, and don’t test things out on them just to see what will happen? Because in the very next paragraph she says “Test them. Be frumpy–go without makeup. Be late. Make them drive through the worst traffic to get to an event that you miss because you forgot the address or left your iPhone at home.” I’m confused!

I also wasn’t too keen on the chapter titled “Badass Gals Always Trust Their Gut, or The Fine Art of Stalking”.  To me, stalking someone is pretty neurotic and the tip of the iceberg for The Crazy. She says

“Like every good badass gal should, I live my life by this motto:  When in doubt, check it out. This is especially true when I suspect that my boyfriend might be, shall we say, sniffing around. For me, stalking can sometimes be essential. Stalking is a very fine art, and nothing to tread into lightly. I do not condone Fatal Attraction-type stuff, and if you are prone to that, put down this book and call a shrink ASAP!”

I mean, it’s nice that she puts that little disclaimer at the end of it, but when she goes into detail about how to stalk someone so they don’t know it, and talks about wearing wigs and disguises and using someone else’s car so as to not be recognized AND then bolds these words “The essentials of stalking: 1) Good Friends 2) Tasty snacks and beverages 3) Lots of patience”,  I have to wonder about her.

Then there’s the lifestyle section where she doles out advice on party planning, make-up tips, home decorating, travel and fashion tips.  I found it particularly amusing that she mentioned Costco was her favorite big-box store when it came to inexpensive catering. She does say, however that “Contrary to popular belief, cooking is a totally badass thing to do.” and includes several of her favorite recipes. I did find it refreshing that she talks about having manners when eating at restaurants and that it’s a sign of badassery to treat waitstaff with respect. “Just because someone is there to serve you doesn’t mean you can treat them like a second-class citizen.” I especially liked her tip #3 off of “Dos and Don’ts at a Restaurant” list. “3. If you’re asking for something special or off the menu, realize you’re being a pain in the ass and don’t ever be righteous about it.”

She ends the book with a badass pledge:

“TAKE THE BADASS PLEDGE

PUT YOUR HAND OVER YOUR HEART AND REPEAT THE FOLLOWING WORDS:

I, [say your name here], being of sound mind and body, do solomnly swear to always strive to live up to the best of my badass potential–in every way, every day–or to exhaust myself trying. So help me, God. (Now click your heels and spin around twice.)

Voila! You are now an honorary badass.

(You’ll get your “authentic credentials” when you start walking the walk…or better yet, running the run!)”

Overall, this book was a little corny, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help people improve themselves.  Shannen Doherty has sort of dropped off the face of Hollywood, but I’m thinking it’s because she wants it that way. She acknowledges that she used to be quite a handful when she was younger, and this book is her way of showing that she feels she’s finally grown into her own skin.  Badass wasn’t written by a rocket scientist by any means, but it’s definitely way better than any of those “books” churned out by all those talentless nobodies from the never-ending flood of trashy reality shows.  However, my gut feeling is that one would think a true “badass” wouldn’t have to write a book about being a badass, they’d just be one.

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