Before reading this book, I had never heard of Joseph Fink or Meg Bashwiner. I had heard of Welcome to Night Vale, the international hit podcast, but I had never listened to it. What drew me to the book, you may ask? The squirrels on the cover caught my attention, but the description of Bashwiner and Fink’s dual perspective love story hooked me from page one.
In The First Ten Years, Bashwiner and Fink write about each year of their relationship, and eventual marriage, from 2009 through 2019. To make it even more interesting, neither of them consulted each other about what they were writing, leaving them free to write anything they wanted. Each year has a chapter devoted to it, with first Joseph’s recollections and then Meg’s. It was interesting to see what moments stood out to each of them and see how often their stories meshed and even echoed each other.
The ensuing ten years of their relationship saw professional highs for both, with Meg working the New York Neo-Futurists theatre group and Joseph creating what became the hit podcast Welcome to Night Vale. The podcast became insanely popular and allowed Bashwiner and Fink to both leave their day jobs and work on their creative pursuits. They coordinated multiple nationwide and worldwide tours of Welcome to Night Vale, Bashwiner opened Neo-Futurist theatre groups in San Francisco and helped a friend start a theatre company in London. Bashwiner and Fink were also honest and open about the low moments in their relationship-the death of Fink's father and the challenges and difficulties associated with their careers.
I really enjoyed this book. As I stated above, I went into the book blind with a vague idea that this was a book about a couple who created and toured Welcome to Night Vale. This book was so much more than that. I have never read a memoir with a dual perspective before this one. I love how well the book flowed and how well each writer’s recollections matched each other. I love the honesty in their story, how two young adult creatives can come together, support each other, and still achieve their goals as long as they have each other.
I now feel like I know who Joseph Fink and Meg Bashwiner are, and I’m a big fan.
Thank you to Harper Perennial and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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