Most commonly known for her role as the co-creator of the Comedy Central show “Broad City,”Abbi Jacobson has transcended into other mediums. The comedian’s first book, “I Might Regret This,” is an open, painstakingly honest expose of her deep-seated insecurities as she navigates through a cross-country road trip. During her endeavor, she ruminates over past experiences: the end of “Broad City,” the end of her first serious relationship and the loss of a dog she impulsively bought in a state of depression (and then quickly grew to resent). As a self-proclaimed workaholic who uses her busy schedule as a coping mechanism, she did what many other “type-A” women would do: she turned her vacation into a project.
“When my main distraction was set to end, I’d skip town and cook up another,” Jacobson writes in the first chapter of the book. Recovering from the end of a love she felt unworthy of ever receiving, her only goal for the trip was to process her thoughts and emotions. “I knew the past year had cracked me open and changed the assumptions of what my life could be. I wanted to create time to specifically think about that.”
Each chapter is formatted as a variation of a list, ranging from light-hearted records of her thoughts on snacks to documentation of her thoughts while falling asleep in different hotel rooms (what she calls “sleep studies”). She injects her mastered self-deprecating humor into her virtually infinite list of hypothetical situations.
Jacobson’s writing style is simple, but beautiful nonetheless. The book is not sophisticated or articulate, or even particularly cohesive, but its saving grace is its poignant honesty. Her thoughts are candid, endearing and personal in a way that, like she seems to do with most of her art, readers can feel that they know her like a best friend. With each confession, Jacobson has the ability to connect with her audience in a way that so many artists strive to achieve.
Interwoven in the romantic anguish is Jacobson’s fierce intelligence and sage insight. She discusses inequalities of power, particularly with the criticism she’s experienced as a woman in the workforce and how it has tainted her confidence.
“Women have to push harder, jump farther, stay later, think better, shit faster,” she writes. “All while trying their best to maintain whatever society says today their body should look like, how they should parent, what they should wear, when they should find love, what’s inappropriate for them to do, be, say, feel, or fuck.”
Refreshingly self-aware, she also acknowledges her privilege as a successful white woman, while simultaneously being careful not to encroach on anyone else’s space by speaking for other women.
Jacobson’s personal voice is familiar and benevolent. However, the book can be a bit of a slow burn. At times, like when she is documenting her thoughts on a Santa Fe hotel room (with time stamps and everything), it reads like a 311 page diary. Her thoughts are erratic, fleeting, rambling and leave the reader begging for action. When she writes pages complaining about the light on an alarm clock, readers are likely to ask themselves what exactly it was that compelled her to share the most minute details of her day.It could use a heavier edit to slim down some of the painfully overt and drawn-out jokes.
Friends of Jacobson — and fans of her work — will find a special admiration for her diary-style debut. She is refreshingly honest and humble, sharing the depths of her emotions with the reader. “Love revealed how covered up I was, but heartache broke me open,” Jacobson writes. The fluctuating whirlwind of heartbreak in the book carries the capacity to thrust readers into an empathic heartbreak of their own.