To be honest, I didn't give two figs about Olivia Munn either way when I sat down and read this book. Sure, I was aware of her co-hosting "Attack of the Show", she was on some sitcom for awhile (until it was cancelled) and I think I saw her on The Daily Show once or twice. Why would I read this book if my knowledge of her was so limited? Well, basically, it's because I get a guilty pleasure out of reading books written by celebrities (or ghost-written by other people with celebrities or vaguely looked at before a celebrity slaps their name on it) and, usually, the more useless a celebrity, the more unintentionally amusing the book. This book seemed like a prime candidate because it seemed like it would fit this last category so well. Olivia is a celebrity that is celebrated by geek culture, but for reasons that completely baffle me (maybe it's because I'm older and cool - which is not the target demographic for "Attack of the Show" and, ostensibly, Munn herself.)
From the first sentence of the introduction ("Yeah, so, I wrote a book.") to the closing line of the introduction ("f--- everybody who was ever mean to me"), I knew I was in for a treat because this was going to be a book with absolutely nothing to say for the next 288 pages. I got excited... and maybe even peed a little. Essentially, the book is broken up into three types of chapters: ones that are little anecdotes from Olivia's life, ones that pander to the geek crowd and ones that are total BS designed to waste paper. It would seem to me that most people would be interested in the first type, mildly amused by the second and totally baffled by the third. I guess the inclusion of the second and third type of chapters was to remind people why they liked Munn as they read through her increasingly uninteresting first type of chapters.
The two central premises explored in the anecdote chapters seem to revolve around Olivia's "ugly duckling" delusion and her desperate (bordering on pathetic/psychotic) need to fit in. On the former, while she claims to think she's not particularly pretty, she devotes whole chapters to playing sexy dress-up and there's an entire full color gallery in the middle of the book devoted to pictures of her (there's even a flip book in the corner so you can make sexy Olivia dance.) This whole "I'm not pretty" facet of the book seems to ring false and is probably more attributable to extreme self-absorption rather than an outcast mentality. This is also evidenced in the several chapters where she meets famous Hollywood scum who are all continually trying to have sex with her. Maybe these stories are true, maybe they aren't, but they sure as hell get boring after the second or third one.
More telling is Olivia's obsessive need to fit in. This starts from the very first anecdote and culminates in my personal favorite chapter about why she would date only geeks. This chapter about dating geeks talks about how Olivia didn't fit in with the popular crowd at schools, so she naturally gravitated towards the geeks and found that the attention they paid her was more rewarding than anything she would get from the popular cliques. What I gathered from this chapter is that Olivia is pretty and has been pretty since she was young and she didn't want to be just another pretty face easy to overlook in the popular group because this is a group made up entirely of pretty faces. Instead, she took her prettiness to a group of people that would fawn all over her and she could be the big fish in the little pond. She doesn't seem to necessarily enjoy the things that geeks tend to obsess over, she just enjoys that they'll pay that much meticulous attention to her. This chapter, more than any other, is most telling of Munn for it's a wave that she's seemingly ridden all the way throughout her career. She has a pretty face, she pretends to give a crap about nerdish things, therefore nerds adore her and, with the power of the internet and endless disposable income, they crown her Queen for the Day. It's a tactic that works and seems to have served her well in her career (and the fact that most people are only now realizing it, seems to be the origin of the hate spewed her way.) For further proof of Olivia's jealousy/acceptance behavior, read the FAQ at the end of the book. When she's asked what she would do if an exact clone of herself was wandering around, Olivia immediately responds that she would kill it because, sooner or later, it would grow jealous of her and try to kill her. Apparently, Olivia has a pot/kettle moment that nobody calls her on.
Of course, we need to divert attention away from all this, so other chapters of the book are filled with geek-pandering. There's chapters with her talking candidly about sex, a "Lord of the Rings" reference here, a "Dungeons and Dragons" reference there and some BS about what she would do if (no, not "if", but "when") robots take over the Earth. It's almost like she took out a geek ledger and was systematically checking off references to everything that the general public thinks geeks care about (Star Wars, zombies, robots, etc.) I'm not saying geeks don't talk about these things; it's just not all they talk about.
Also, there are some BS chapters like what it would be like if Princess Leia had a Twitter account while the events of "A New Hope" were unfolding. Really? No, really? Really, this idea was committed to paper. Trees died so that this could be printed. Somebody thought: can I write a chapter about a fictional character having an awful piece of technology at their hands and what it would be like if said fictional character was just as vapid and stupid as any teenage girl at the mall? Yes, somebody thought this, but nobody bothered to ask: what would be the point of that? I guess this answers the question (that nobody asked) of just how stupid a book can get before you really start to lose your audience.
When all is said and done, these chapters are supposed to exemplify the supposed charm of Olivia and help explain why she's so revered. For me personally, I just don't get it. No part of this book was endearing or charming except for one funny story about Olivia taking a test back in grade school where she had to pee really, really bad and thought that maybe if she let just a little bit out, it would be okay. This one story is actually funny and touches on that universal feeling of embarrassment and the total logic-lacking fibs that we'd tell as a child. If the rest of this book were more like this one story, it'd be a far better book. I'm not saying she has to tell stories of embarrassment or ridicule, but stories that are actually interesting, amusing and maybe even capable of emotionally investing a reader. However, this one story is just one odd little artifact in a sea of awful, no-focus writing. I don't expect Pulitzer Prize winning material from these types of books, but I do expect to be, at least, mildly entertained. One good story out of nearly 300 pages of incoherent babbling just doesn't cut it for me.
At the end of the day, I guess this book did prove my theory correct: the more seemingly pointless a celebrity, the more mind-bogglingly inane a book is produced. On that front, this book succeeds. As a funny, engaging, insider-y memoir, the book fails. If you're not a fan of Munn, this book won't convert you. If you are a fan of Munn, it's hard to tell what exactly would draw you to this book. If you just want more pictures of her, isn't that what the internet is for? Ultimately, I would say this book has a certain unexpected purpose: it should be required reading for any Psych 101 student. I would love to see a professional analyze the crap out of this book from a psychological standpoint. If you've ever wondered what goes through the head of a self-absorbed beauty queen pathologically trying to fit in, there is no better textbook than this one.
As a traditional book, I would rate this a 1 out of 5. It has all the distinctive characteristics of being a book (it's made of paper, it has words on that paper, it has sequentially numbered pages) without actually being a book (in that it is emotionally, mentally, physically valuable.)
A 3 out of 5 for its unintentional disclosure of the otherwise socially irredeemable traits of its subject. A fascinating study for Psych students (with sexy pictures.)
A 2 out of 5. Recommended only for the aforementioned Psych students. May also be recommended for use as a level for rickety, uneven furniture.