When Is a Tweet a Novel?
Ruby Brunton reviews Darcie Wilder’s new novel Literally Show Me a Healthy Person
“The process of fictionalization is selection – why this and not that?”
— Chris Kraus
There is a feeling I get sometimes which is a sense of excitement brewing deep in my belly that bubbles up the way it did before Christmas when I was a kid only to reveal itself as a balloon of anxiety threatening to burst instead. Sometimes when I experience the most joyful sense of calm and being at peace with the world, it’s swiftly interrupted by what feels like a hard punch to the stomach. Darcie Wilder’s debut novel Literally Show Me a Healthy Person caused me to experience both of these sensations page after page until the last line, “note to self: khdjysbfshfsjtstjsjts.” Who knew a row of random letters were capable of inflicting such emotions. It also made me laugh my guts out all over the table, which is what we do when something is smart and relatable.
I know of Darcie Wilder through Twitter, where I met many of my now close friends and collaborators. Wilder is a total Twitter powerhouse, with around 90k followers, several alts whose handles I can’t remember, and a steady stream of biting social commentary and self-mocking. I’ve always been in awe of how Wilder can blend the pains of being a millennial struggling with mental health issues, dating and grief, with the ever-more challenging political and economic landscape into bite-sized slices of humorous relatability. I think the first tweet I fav’d of hers was a screengrab of an email containing Mother’s Day deals with the caption “leave me alone she’s dead”. I replied “feel this in my bones” and we’ve been content compatriots ever since. I wondered on hearing of her book being published if reading it would be overkill for someone who already fangirled her online. It wasn’t.