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Memoirs and Misinformation: A Novel by Jim Carrey
““None of this is real and all of it is true.” (Jim Carrey)
Meet Jim Carrey. Sure, he’s an insanely successful and beloved movie star drowning in wealth and privilege – but he’s also lonely. Maybe past his prime. Maybe even…getting fat? He’s tried diets, gurus, and cuddling with his military-grade Israeli guard dogs, but nothing seems to lift the cloud of emptiness and ennui. Even the sage advice of his best friend, actor and dinosaur-skull collector Nicolas Cage, isn’t enough to pull Carrey out of his slump.
But then Jim meets Georgie: ruthless ingénue, love of his life. And with the help of auteur screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, he has a role to play in a boundary-pushing new picture that may help him uncover a whole new side to himself – finally, his Oscar vehicle! Things are looking up!
But the universe has other plans.
Memoirs and Misinformation is a fearless semi-autobiographical novel, a deconstruction of persona. In it, Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon have fashioned a story about acting, Hollywood, agents, celebrity, privilege, friendship, romance, addiction to relevance, fear of personal erasure, our “one big soul”, Canada, and a cataclysmic ending of the world – apocalypses within and without.” -Audible
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I can’t remember where I first heard of this book, but then I saw the interview Jim Carrey did with Trevor Noah and I knew I had to pick it up. Jim Carrey is one of my all-time favorite comedic actors, or actors in general, so I’m really excited to see what this book is about. I don’t really have expectations, but I’m sure it’ll be funny and entertaining.
- He was at home watching a Netflix documentary of Pompei that made him break down
He ended up marrying Renee even after warnings from Nick Cage and Katie Holmes
- The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was ignored by the academy, and I Love you Philip Morris was harshly criticized
- His agents discussed the issue of saving Carrey’s brand by doing a movie about animals which the public seemed to love
- His friend wanted him to play Mao Zedong in a horror movie he was writing
- He prepped for playing Mao with a daily visualization and a weight gain eating regimen
- A week after a dinner party with other celebrities and Disney execs, he had a threesome with Georgie and Helena, a Marilyn Monroe lookalike
- Georgie allowed Helena to continue coming over for sexual escapades with them both as long as she came as Marilyn and they didn’t see each other without her permission
- Helena confessed her love, but when Jim did not reciprocate she overdosed on his prescription pills
- Meanwhile, Georgie had an allergic reaction to a Botox alternative
- He started to question who he was and who he was becoming
Reader’s note: If I had to sum up the last few chapters, it is basically Jim Carrey having an existential crisis and questioning who he is. He struggling with relevancy and meaning in his life when all he really feels like right now is a commodity. It seems like he knows he’s on a hamster wheel and that he has no real future. But he struggling to try and break out of this funk and become admired by the world again. He wants to prove himself.
- Carrey says unfettered capitalism is destroying the whole world and cannot last. It yearns for its own destruction
- Similarly, so does celebrity as it is part of capitalism
- He was shooting a real-time animated film using advanced technology to render the movie plot and digital world on the spot
- With this technology, his likeness and legacy could be rendered into the future in definitely
- The director told him that choice is an allusion
- This technology would allow him to last forever. He was drawn in by the possibility of recognition for his talent
- There was a huge fire engulfing his neighborhood
- He went in to save his Charlie Chaplin cane, but was rescued by some paramilitary, women firefighters
- With Gwyneth Paltrow, Nick Cage, and the military women started their hunt for aliens and UFOs
- Kanye West proclaimed to the world that the aliens were talking to him and impregnated Kim Kardashian with a baby
- Rapture began and the aliens started to bring people up via beams of light
- They first started with the lonely and sad people first
- Nicolas Cage and his other friends lassoed him and pulled him out of the blissful rapture light beam
- With John Travolta and the rest of the survivors, they started to fight the alien mop up crews with their plasma weapons
- For some reason, Nick Cage was immune to the Crimson death rays from the aliens
- Aliens took down Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage, and he was the last survivor of the rebel forces
- He ended up being the last survivor and dying in a dingy boat
Main ideas / Themes:
One of the major themes in this book is Carrey’s struggle with relevancy. As a man who feels like he’s lost in the world, he’s mainly on a journey to become relevant gain. He talks about specific times in his career where he was on top of the world, almost worshipped like a god. He longs to have the world’s adulation again, and is tempted by these acting opportunities to reclaim fame and recognition.
Even then, he still is unsure of the future and his legacy. Throughout the novel, he seems very unsure of the future and his career. He constantly talks about the idea of just fading into oblivion and how nothing really matters. Ultimately, the ending echos this point as he ends up dying alone on a boat in the ocean as presumably the last survivor of the human race.
Love & Relationships
Another big theme in this book is love. He talks about his past loves and relationships, as well as the current marriage he is in with Renee Zellweger aka “Georgie”. People saw the red flags before they got married and warned him about her.
He also has a sexual fling with Helena, the Marilyn Monroe lookalike. She falls in love with him, but he tells her that love has nothing to do with it. She then overdoses but is okay. Along with his internal struggle, it’s clear that his relationships are just as rocky. His poor relationships with those around him are simply a reflection of his internal struggles.
After going through his actually biography/life events online and reading through his relationships, it’s very interesting how much this novel parallels real life. I get that it was intended to be a pseudo-autobiography/memoir, but it’s interesting how he took real life events and created a fictional story out of it.
So this book was not funny, but it was very interesting to say the least. At points entertaining, but also very unique. Of the couple hundred books I’ve read, this novel is one of the most eccentric by far. It makes sense that my experience with Jim was the feeling I get from watching his movies, but it’s a completely different experience following him in a narrative like this within a novel, which isn’t geared towards comedy. It’s really just a fan-fiction created from his own mind with elements of the real world and real events with real people.
It’s also interesting how many of the events and relationships are based on his real life events and relationships, but then it diverges seamlessly into fiction. This was intentional as the reader doesn’t know what’s real and what’s fake. It’s like he’s trying to tell us the truth hidden behind the mask of “fictitious art” so it makes you wonder if some of these things behind the curtain of celebrity actually happen.
As a reader who takes notes and looks for ideas to learn from, this one was hard to follow. His thoughts jump all over the place and the narrative of the novel is hard to follow at times. It was a nice book to just listen to this fantasy out of Carrey’s head, and not worry so much about capturing all the details like most of the personal development books I read.
Overall, it was an interesting read if you’re looking for something very different. I’ve never read or heard of a book that tries to combine real with fantasy, biography and fiction, and does as good of a job as Jim does. As far as I know, this book is probably the best attempt at doing just that. But don’t be surprised if this book leaves you feeling sad and empty by the end, haha.
One Takeaway / Putting into practice:
The story in this novel is all over the place, so it’s hard to pick a solid, directly quoted takeaway from the book. However, if I had to synthesize my own takeaway from the book, it would be:
- Find meaning/happiness/fulfillment in what you enjoy and the important relationships you have
I think the greatest struggle we see with Jim is that he struggles to find meaning with his relevancy in the public eye. He wants to reclaim his former glory, but that pursuit of happiness fuels his unhappiness (see book notes on 10% Happier by Dan Harris). That, and he took many of his relationships for granted, which further fueled his emptiness. The only relationship he seemed to be able to maintain was with his daughter Jane and his grandson.
I think if he didn’t focus on trying to “become relevant” again, he could have found what he truly loved doing and pursued that for it’s own end. Doing so would have resulted in him being a lot happier by the end.
Jim Carrey creates a fictional story from his own real life about a struggle for relevancy, love, celebrity, and an apocalyptic turn of events straight out of a sci-fi movie.
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (fiction, self-discovery)
- Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (fiction, self-discovery)
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (fiction, historical, relationships)
- Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang (memoir, culture, self-discovery)
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (memoir, celebrity, humor)
- Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (memoir, celebrity, humor)
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (sci-fi, action, romance)
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