Meet Marzi. She’s an introvert who often finds herself in awkward situations. Marzi used to feel strange about her introverted tendencies. Not anymore!
Now she knows that there are tons of introverts out there just like her – introverts who enjoy peace and quiet, need time alone to recharge their battery, and who prefer staying in with their pet and a good book to awkward social interactions.
Just like Marzi, these introverts can often be found in libraries, at home watching Netflix, brainstorming excuses to miss your next party, or doodling cute cartoons. Being an introvert in an extrovert world isn’t always easy, but it certainly is an adventure.
I’m introverted myself. And Introvert Doodles by Maureen “Marzi” Wilson did not live up to all the hype.
For a start, it is an incredibly simplistic portrayal of introversion – to the point where it was sometimes just plain erroneous. Sure, introverts feel burnt out after being around others for long periods of time and need peace + quiet in order to recharge. But we’re not all socially anxious. I mean, I am… but not all of us are. And there are extroverts with anxiety!
Besides, everyone has moments of social awkwardness. (As much as we wish we didn’t!) Having awkward encounters has little to nothing to do with being an introvert: The difference between introverts and extroverts is simply that the former recharges their battery, so to speak, through alone time while the latter recharges theirs through interacting with others.
That’s literally all there is to it.
I was also… puzzled? irritated? by how Wilson seems to view extroverts. I’m not sure what loving Netflix, snacks, and cuddles from your pet have to do with being an introvert. At times she appeared to be saying that extroverts don’t read or have conversations about Big Ideas.
The subtitle of this book should be Not Like Other Girls™. It swung wildly back and forth between infantilizing introverts (they would happily live in blanket forts 24/7 and have to be lured out with pizza?) to implying that introverts are the only intellectual people on this planet (no extrovert in their right mind would ever visit a library?).
It didn’t match my experience of life as an introvert at all. I’ll tell you what it did match: My personality in, like, 2012. When I had an insufferable Not Like Other Girls™ complex.
Didn’t we all, back then?
But we’ve grown + changed for the better since then.
Or so I thought.
I realize that introverts – or extroverts, for that matter – aren’t all alike. My experience is different from that of my best friend or that of my brother. But that’s due to individual interests, rather than personality traits.
Both my brother and I are easily exhausted around people… but that’s where the similarities end. Introverts are all exceedingly bookish? I don’t think my brother has read a single book so far this year. He’d rather program code because that’s what he’s into. I’m into stories. And that’s fine.
Life with extroverts when you’re an introvert certainly is an adventure. But you don’t have to be an elitist snob about it. As I read this book, I found myself wondering multiple times if the reason Marzi has trouble making friends is that she shuts down so many opportunities by assuming other people don’t read, daydream, or have a strong hankering for pizza.
Finally, something I noticed during my reading – and that I’ve seen others point out in their reviews/discussion of the book – is that Introvert Doodles, however subtly, seems to link people of color with traits such as being rowdy, obnoxious, and shallow.
I’m not here to argue about whether or not it was intentional, because at this point the damage has already been done. Things like these are why sensitivity readers are necessary, you guys. It’s not as simple as making someone’s skin tone a few shades darker under the guise of diversity without first giving some thought as to the possible impact.
I was so incredibly disappointed by Introvert Doodles: An Illustrated Look at Introvert Life in an Extrovert World. If you’re longing for books on the introvert experience, they ARE out there. They just aren’t this one.