I realise I’m likely to be painting myself as a rather odd sort of character, what with my Star Wars nerdiness, and my obsession with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, etc., but please bear with me, Dear Reader Friend. It doesn’t end there. I am also a Gleek. I’ve long wished that the world would turn into a giant musical. Random outbursts of song that everyone just launches into in complete synchronicity, choreographed numbers, backing vocals and harmonies complete. It will never happen, of course, because that kind of theatrical complexity requires hours and hours of rehearsal and skill on behalf of the participants, but it is my dream, and I don’t have to justify it with logic. For that reason, I love Glee. It gives me a chance for a little while to indulge my crazy dream and imagine that the world, or at least the world of a small town high school, has become what I have always hoped it would be.
I am also a teacher (or used to be), and although I would never, ever, ever, there’s a little part of me that would love to be as blunt to the students as Sue Sylvester is allowed to be. Not to demean them, but just to put them back into their place a little. Teenagers can be…well, a little self-absorbed. Great – and interesting, and complex, but way too much in their own heads.
I’m not overly familiar with Jane Lynch’s previous work, so somewhere in my slightly warped mind I think I kind of crossed over Sue Sylvester and Jane Lynch and imagined they were part and parcel of one person. I think I expected this book to be written by a Sue Sylvester- type character, full of snarling wit and aggressive put downs. I was WRONG! So, so very wrong.
For once I am glad to have been wrong. Jane’s story is far better than Sue’s could have been. She speaks with grace and humour about her time growing up with borderline alcoholic parents, and her subsequent struggles with the same. How hard it is to be an apple that falls far from the tree. Even I’ve learnt that. She speaks of her homosexuality (who knew? I sure didn’t see that coming!) and her time working the stand up comedy circuit. I got the impression that Jane has, as many comedians do, worked extremely hard to get to where she is in her career. I found her to be very real, and likeable, and funny – very funny. I’m also pretty glad I read this book so that I could not continue to be so ridiculously naïve and assume that Jane Lynch = Sue Sylvester. As much as I love the fictional character, the real person is so much better, for so many reasons. So much more real.