Kiss, Marry or Kill: 07
Hey, Hun; an essay about "friends who still diet;" how to pronounce anything (even "segue"); and Gen Z being awesome again
This is a new weekly (ish) series for subscribers only, where I’ll share things that caught my eye this week in a fun and flirty way (kiss), a sustainable way (marry), or a not-so-good way (kill). And yes, this trendy game is technically “f***, marry, or kill” but we run a family-friendly-ish show around here.
Kiss (things I like right now)
Emily Lynn Paulson’s new book about MLMs. A few summers ago, Brandon and I binge-listened to a podcast called The Dream, which empathetically explored the pull of multilevel marketing companies. So when my friend Laura McKowen texted me saying, “Hey, my friend Emily just wrote a new book about her experience in an MLM, do you want to read it?” I immediately said yes. And then Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, Supremacy, and the Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing arrived, and I TORE THROUGH IT IN THREE DAYS.
I expected it to be a researched book, where Emily was a journalist from the outside looking in. I did not expect Emily to be the Girlboss Main Character, building her “team,” earning the keys to the Leaders Lounge, and becoming the kind of person you eventually block on Facebook. Nor did I expect her to go so hard on the relationship between MLMs, white supremacy, Christianity, and cults. In the INTRO, no less. Emily pulls no punches, and in Hey, Hun, she is her own biggest call-out.
In the book, Emily explores her indoctrination into an MLM (she calls it “Rejuvinat,” leaving us to guess which one she really joined), and her direct role in upholding and perpetuating their shady value systems, unethical marketing tactics, and devastating financial consequences, all in the name of making the “Excellence Circle.” The inner conflict she felt spilled all over the page, and we get to witness her evolution from “was that a red flag?” to “this doesn’t feel good” to “this definitely isn’t right, but the money is too good” to “my life has become out of control.”
It was a wild ride, full of dark humor, brutal self-awareness, oodles of intentionally-called-out cringe, and gorgeously-woven threads connecting worth, value, money, and power with friendship, independence, promises, and dreams. (With a splash of cancer and a hefty dose of alcoholism.)
And underneath it all—wait, there’s more!—an impossible-to-ignore expose of the rotten core of the MLM industry. Yes, ALL OF THEM. Run don’t walk to devour this book (then tell five people to buy it, and ask them to tell five people…)*
*I wish I had thought of this quippy closing line myself, but this is what Emily wrote on the card she sent to me with book. The woman has a biting sense of humor.
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