Let me start this post with a truth: I’m crazy.
I am a high-functioning crazy person. I have ADHD and GAD and MDD. Most people who meet me–especially those with whom I work, have no idea. How else would I pursue a PhD, and come home at night to make an easy vegan tomato flatbread to share with them in the office? They know I’m gregarious and tend toward being the Hermione Granger of a group. They know I have lists for everything, and tend to worry over a very minor detail of my work. But they’d never expect the other things: my need to never stop moving which I’ve worked with for a very long time, and know how to feed. They don’t know my need to be quiet and alone with myself for a little while each day. They don’t know that I constantly worry about falling down stairs, or being hit by a car. The majority of my worries are fairly irrational, but based on truths. In NYC, we all know at least one person who’s been hit by a car. We have all tripped down subway stairs, and don’t get us started on planes. But most people don’t spend any time worrying about falling down the stairs, or falling asleep on the train and being robbed. I do.
But I still get my shit done. I get my words written, my errands run, my classes completed. I don’t let my illness define me. (Although, I’ve been sorely tempted to develop a program for iphones that bricks them and bricks social media when I’m trying to work. On problem: I can’t program. Oops.)
The book does what it’s not trying to do. It makes all of our peculiarities seem, if not endearing, acceptable. Understandable. We are all of us just trying to live.
But first, the blurb:
Andy Carter was happy. He had a solid job. He ran 5Ks for charity. He was living a nice, safe Midwestern existence. And then his wife left him for a handsome paramedic down the street.
We’re All Damaged begins after Andy has lost his job, ruined his best friend’s wedding, and moved to New York City, where he lives in a tiny apartment with an angry cat named Jeter that isn’t technically his. But before long he needs to go back to Omaha to say good-bye to his dying grandfather.
Back home, Andy is confronted with his past, which includes his ex, his ex’s new boyfriend, his right-wing talk-radio-host mother, his parents’ crumbling marriage, and his still-angry best friend.
As if these old problems weren’t enough, Andy encounters an entirely new complication: Daisy. She has fifteen tattoos, no job, and her own difficult past. But she claims she is the only person who can help Andy be happy again, if only she weren’t hiding a huge secret that will mess things up even more. Andy Carter needs a second chance at life, and Daisy—and the person Daisy pushes Andy to become—may be his last chance to set things right.
The story is at once complex and dead simple. But that is what makes it wonderful. Andy isn’t necessarily an “every man” per se, but he’s enough of that one guy you know–or whom you used to be, that the reader is immediately engaged in his story. He’s the heartbroken lump with the crazy republican family member he has to unfollow on Facebook. He’s that guy. He’s that guy. And Daisy. Oh, Daisy. Daisy is the modern reincarnation of the early aughts manic pixie dream girl. But instead of funny jewelry and a scooter, she has tattoos and an affinity for the internet. And she serves precisely the same purpose. She’s a vehicle for change in the protagonist. However, she’s not the typical MPDG in that she’s inherently a “cool” girl, or “someone you could hang with.” She is thankfully, blessedly, unique. But still, MPDG. You never really know her–and you aren’t sure you’d trust her if you did–but you’re glad for her presence.
This book made me want to blog again after a period of heavy ennui, and that’s saying something. Because what Daisy did for Andy, this book did for me: it mixed things up. It made me see something through a slightly different lens. Yes, we’re all crazy. All of us have that relative, or that ex. We are also all of us human, and that’s the best part of this crazy ride, right? We’re all in this together, and if you look long enough, you know it’s worth it. All of it. Right up to the final ride in the cadillac.
A lot of this book revolves around an Italian restaurant. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s kind of a big deal. This also takes place in the middle of farming country. So, when I went to write the recipe, I wanted to incorporate both, as well as the midwestern sensibility I grew up with, by using something from a tube or can. Because, Midwest.Easy Vegan Tomato Flatbread!! Addictive and QUICK AS HELL! Click To Tweet
Easy Vegan Tomato Flatbread
Serves 1/6th recipe
10 minHow Long is This Going to Take?
15 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
What Goes In?
- 1 can of crescent rolls rolled out with edges crimped
- 2/3 cup vegan ricotta cheese or vegan cream cheese
- 4 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 large pinch of salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- multi colored grape or cherry tomatoes
- thinly sliced zucchini
- handful of chopped basil
- drizzle of olive oil
- large flake salt
- more black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F
- combine cheese mix ingredients
- spread evenly over croissant dough
- top with tomatoes and half of the basil
- drizzle with olive oil
- sprinkle with salt and pepper
- bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown
- top with more basil