Book Review: Buffering by Hannah Hart

I’ve been following Hannah Hart since some of her very first My Drunk Kitchen episodes, and Hart has always kept her past and personal life separate from her public life. This book dives into the personal bits, and it was a book that was definitely worth the read.

Hart very kindly labels her introduction “Trigger Warning” with a list of included topics that might be triggering. She does this at the very beginning, rather than at the top of each chapter, allowing for the book to be read as a whole with the knowledge that these triggers will come up at some point. For the record, in talking about this book, this blog post needs a trigger warning for: Emetophobia(fear of vomiting), spiders, child abuse/neglect, and discussion of mental illness.

The way the memoir is written is highly accessible. No overly flowery prose or dense metaphors are found within the pages of this book, but rather, the book is an easy to digest account of a life being lived. Hart even speaks to the generation she is writing from by regularly including emoji’s in her text.

Hart details her life up to now(age 30), recounting growing up in a religious household, the experiences she had coming out, her close friendships, her struggle with mental illness, and how the events of her life play a role in her professional life. But the backdrop behind all of this is her experiences of neglect as a small child and into her teenage years.

For those who have read books like The Glass Castle, Liar’s Club, A Child Called It, or Chinese Cinderella, Hart’s memoir is not inherently shocking. What is shocking is seeing her disposition(she is, after all, an internet comedian), in relation to her past. Hart doesn’t paint a picture of hatred toward her family. Rather, she strikes a cord in being incredibly loving toward them, despite the hardship she faced.

There were two moments in the book that did simply leave me in tears. The first is the parallel of a little Hannah Hart, age 5, drinking a “potion” made up of crushed up aspirin and water, and being rushed to the emergency room to deal with the experience. This is juxtaposed with a few years later, Hannah coming home from school to find her baby sister Maggie eating cigarettes butts. Hannah rushes to her sister and begins to remove them from her sisters mouth, making the baby vomit in the process. The other moment was when Hannah, and her older sister Naomi go back to her mothers home to document their mother’s schizophrenia, and Hannah notices for the first time all the spiders in the home. She says to her older sister that there never used to be spiders, to which Naomi responds, telling Hannah about all the spider bites they had as children. Hannah, almost numbly says, “Spider bites come from spiders,” as though she had blocked that out entirely.

I will say that as a reading experience, I devoured this book in the span of a few hours, but would recommend breaking it up, and reading this memoir in the presence of those who can offer comfort should the need arise.

That’s all for today. Have you read any other YouTuber memoirs? Have you read Buffering? Let me know your thoughts in comments.

-M

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