Verdict: Fun and full of spirit, SIR, I’M NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL is a snappy, energetic and good-natured memoir.
Life in postwar suburban California doesn’t have much to offer an aspiring talent with stars in her eyes. Especially not a dreamy young woman like Mary Lynn Archibald. Believing herself destined for the stage, she sets off for the big city to become the person she was meant to be. Landing in San Francisco, Mary Lynn sets out to realize her hopes of hitting it big, though she still has to attend school and make ends meet with less-than-stellar day jobs. But most unsettling of all are the lecherous intentions of the various men Mary Lynn encounters, and defending her virtue soon becomes equally as important as attaining fame and fortune.
Author of the memoir Accidental Cowgirl, Mary Lynn Archibald’s SIR, I’M NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL! is a lighthearted account of her attempt at fame as a dancer in the years following World War II. It’s a fun, free-spirited read, blending moments of tenderness with laugh-out-loud humor. Archibald narrates her short-lived show business career without an ounce of regret, taking readers on a journey as she grows from naive small-town girl to grown-up, big city maturity. She relates her story with fondness for the good parts and sadness for the not-so-good parts, all with a spirit of determination to live life to its fullest.
Of particular note is the description of Archibald’s lonely yet idyllic childhood, dominated by doting grandparents, dress-up games, good books, and dancing that fueled her dreams of stardom. Every bit of it is rendered in sharp detail, like a photo scrapbook preserving a life well-lived. Countering these drops of nostalgia are the bitter memories of World War II and all its costs, making the sweet moments even sweeter. Archibald herself is a highly relatable personality, like a grandmother regaling readers with stories of her youth, passing her legacy from one generation to the next. As for her quest for stardom, it’s easy to sympathize with her as she learns the stark reality of that world, that not everyone is your friend, not everyone is a good person, and sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned—but as Archibald’s book admirably demonstrates, it doesn’t have to leave you bitter.
Fun and full of spirit, SIR, I’M NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL is a snappy, energetic and good-natured memoir.
~Heather McNamara for IndieReader