Simon & Schuster

How to Be Alone

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December 21, 2018 at 04:51 PM EST

Lane Moore’s inspiring heartbreaker of a memoir, How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even if You Don’t, starts off with an unusual page of dedications. Instead of family or friends, she thanks 80-some actors, singers, albums, TV shows and movies ranging from Mazzy Star to Prince to Anne of Green Gables.

The comedian/musician/writer, who also hosts the improv show Tinder Live!, deftly weaves all of those cultural influences into her first book, which chronicles her struggle — so far — to survive a deeply dysfunctional family and her years spent working to establish herself in New York City. The confessional, candid vibe to Moore’s writing has inspired an outpouring of reader responses. “It was scary to be like, what if I’m the only person who feels like that?” Moore told EW. “Instead people who read the book are saying, I thought I was the only person who felt like that.”

“I’ve been reexperiencing my own trauma 24/7 for the last two years, especially since the book came out. There’s a flood of messages [on social media] every day, and it’s challenging because my opening up about my loneliness and isolation and childhood traumas has allowed people to open up about theirs—which is beautiful and exactly what I’d hoped for, but it’s hard to know so many people are in pain in many of the same ways I was in pain.”

At book readings, Moore’s improv background has proved a little less helpful than anticipated. “Usually you’re hitting them with jokes jokes jokes jokes, and you know when it’s going well, because it’s laugh laugh laugh laugh. But a lot of the book is just brutally honest, and at the end there’s like 50 people crying on me. Very different dynamic.”

Amber Marlow

How to Be Alone spends a significant amount of time tackling the particular challenge of making it through the holidays when the world around you is overwhelming obsessed with picture-perfect happy families, and yours is anything but. (See in particular the chapter titled: “Happy Holidays to Everyone But You, You Lonely Weirdo.”)

One of Moore’s most reliable coping mechanisms is to revisit her favorite TV shows. She quotes a friend who concisely diagnosed this approach: “You rewatch your favorite shows because they’re like your family… They raised you… You don’t want them to leave because then you’re alone again and your family is gone.”

In honor of the encroaching holidays and potential spiral of emotions, Moore shared with EW her recent and long-standing TV-as-family faves to binge-watch through the end of the longest year ever:

GLOW
“I love any kind of female ensemble show. It’s the dream. It’s the League of Our Own thing: a group of diverse women with distinct personalities! I’m obsessed with Yolanda. Not just because Yolanda is the gay one. She’s a great dancer and so charismatic. And you see her on screen and you’re like, who wouldn’t see your character and realize, ‘Oh, I’m queer’?”

The Office
“I rewatch it over and over. It’s a staple. I like to focus on the Jim and Pam episodes. I usually start on “Diversity Training” — such an incredible episode. There’s so much Jim and Pam goodness, and I like to watch their whole story. Sometimes I’ll skip around, watch seasons 1 to 4 where they get together, then the dinner party episode, then the wedding. I hit all the Jim and Pam beats.”

Parks and Recreation
“I rewatch this a lot. I like to focus on the Leslie and Ben parts. This is a comedy where I feel like — my heart can handle this during the holidays. Every now and then I’m like, I have to watch that right now. Sometimes I’ll go all the way back to the beginning.”

Jane the Virgin
“This is a heavy rewatch for me. It’s such a wonderful show especially for romantic writers. It’s everything — the magical realism, Gina Rodriguez is a dream, and Rafael is — he’s just too much, and the actor who plays him is super feminist. But depending on how you’re spending the holidays, it can be tricky to watch, because she’s so close to her family. If you don’t have that situation, that can be tough to watch around the holidays, that can be tricky. That’s something i had to be personally mindful of.”

Gilmore Girls
“I love this show, but if you have tough stuff with your mom, maybe don’t do a Gilmore Girls rewatch.”

Veronica Mars
“Logan Echolls wasn’t an angel by any means. So I get it. But I’m a total Marshmallow.”

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
“Obviously.”

Dirty John
Dirty John is a great cross section — there’s Connie Britton and murder. I love murder and true crime, though I have to limit how much I’m watching because otherwise at a certain point you’re like, everyone’s a murderer. But I love Connie Britton on this show. I love the accent that she has — it’s sweet and midwestern mom. She’s talked about how she wanted to take this on because everyone judged this woman so hard. You didn’t make her some pathetic idiot. You made her a woman who had been through some shit.”

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