When you grow up with a name that is always mispronounced, you become interested in names. This interest becomes a full blown obsession when your mom insists that everyone has to agree on the names of your four little siblings, starting when you are 11.
My name is Eva (pronounced Ava) and I am a name nerd.
People that know me in real life have known this about me for a long time. I love talking about names and I love naming things. My car was called Sally Mazda, I had a bicycle called Betty, and I talked about names for weeks and weeks and weeks for my dog, Henrik. If you are having a baby and are ok talking about names, I will spend hours and hours throwing them at you.
But it’s not a normal hobby, you know? You can’t exactly take baby name books out of the library just to peruse. (Why can’t we?!)
Thanks to the internet, I know that I’m not the only one.
Duana Taha has long been one of my favourite parts of my daily gossip obsession Lainey Gossip. I was delighted the day her casual pieces on celebrity baby names became a full on advice column about baby names.
Then came the announcement that she was releasing a full-length book all about names. I wrote the release date in my agenda right away. And on April 5th, I went and bought the book.
I spent an entire day last weekend reading the whole, glorious thing.
The Name Therapist: How Growing Up With My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need To Know About Yours is wonderful. I laughed and nodded the whole way through. Not only does Duana discuss the history of her own unusual name and how it marked her out as different from day 1, she talks to other name experts, looks into the Jennifer phenomenon, stripper names, discusses how culture and religion influence names and looks back at naming her son.
I was horrified to read my name mentioned in the stripper chapter. Duana starts looking at stripper names in an effort to see if there are any themes. And for comparison, she looks at the names of high-end escorts. Obviously.
These names still have a sexy factor – Paloma, Tatiana, and a lot, lot, lot of Evas – but they end in A and there’s often an implication of an exotic, not-from-here locale.
I guess that’s ok, then.
And how about this cover? Do you know what a Starbucks name is? If you use one, you know what it is. I love seeing what names will be written on my cup when I tell them my name. I’ve gotten Amy, Ivy, and once Victava. Which is not a real name, as far as I know.
Oh I loved this book. And reading it and telling people about it has uncovered a number of closeted name nerds I didn’t know about. One friend admitted that when she was 8, her favourite book to take out from the library was a baby name book. So I guess I can take those out of the library!
If you are flirting with a name interest, if you are in the middle of a full blown obsession, if you are looking at naming a human in the not-too-distant future (or a pet – Duana looks at pet names too!), read this book. I want to read it again.