Tag: memoirs

Sep 08

Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson

Memoirs 5

Bonjour, Bookworms!

When I was at BEA back in May, I was pitched a book that sounded ridiculously charming. It was called Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France and it was the memoir of a dude named Craig Carlson who started an American style diner in Paris. Because e’rybody needs bacon. I wasn’t able to get a copy of the book at the convention, but I was able to get it digitally through NetGalley after the fact, which actually worked out better for me. Kindle = convenience = reading in bed. So. Full disclosure. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. They didn’t even offer me pancakes to sweeten the deal, so you know all opinions expressed will be honest. I make no such promises if bacon is offered along with books.*

pancakes in parisYou know that thing where despite a total lack of experience in an industry, you decide to dive in, head first? In an international market? With no idea what you’re doing? Craig Carlson does! He was the product of humble beginnings in working class Connecticut and went on to acquire the American dream: a college education and a boatload of debt. A study abroad program had caused Carlson to fall in love with Paris and all things French, and during a transitional period in his career, he realized the one thing he’d REALLY missed in his adopted homeland was… Pancakes. More specifically, an American style diner experience. So he decided to start a diner. In Paris. With no money and no clue. The book chronicles Carlson’s struggles from idea inception to completion, with all the road bumps in between. Here are some things that I learned from this book:

ONE: French people refer to American style coffee as “sock water” and think it’s totally lame.

TWO: It is really, really difficult to get fired from your job in France. Which is great, I guess, if you’re an employee. Terrible if you’re a business owner and you happen to have hired poorly.

THREE: All those awesome old European buildings I find so romantic probably also have highly unromantic plumbing problems. Old pipes are just no fun, y’all.

If you’re into fun memoirs, culture clashes, or breakfast food, check out Pancakes in ParisThere’s a chance you’ll really want to run out to your local diner afterward though. Fair warning. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

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Jun 25

I Don’t Know Where You Know Me From by Judy Greer

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 10

Hola Bookworms!

After the roaring win that was Aisha Tyler’s memoir Self-Inflicted Wounds (because audio books read by the author are the best), I thought I’d visit the memoir of Tyler’s Archerco-star (and co-star to, well, everyone) Judy Greer. You know the adorable best friend in every successful rom-com ever? That’s Judy Greer! She wrote a book called I Don’t Know What You Know Me From in which she discusses all sorts of things from her adoration of feta (she is my people) to awkward fan encounters. I’ll tell you this much, Judy, if I ever run into you, I’ll know EXACTLY where I know you from. My imaginary slumber party, obvi.

judygreerPro tip: if you’re an actress, you should DEFINITELY read your own memoir and record it so I can listen. Interviewers never ask interesting enough questions, letting Hollywood types speak for themselves ends in either delightful anecdotes or train wrecks, either of which are highly entertaining. Judy falls into the delightful anecdote camp, as I had no doubt she would.

Judy Greer is a Midwestern gal who sort of fell into acting. Since she didn’t grow up practicing her Oscar acceptance speech, she’s remarkably down-to-earth regardless of the number of A-list celebs she’s peed next to. She’s addicted to drug store cosmetics and secretly removes her Spanx in the restroom as soon as she’s finished on the red carpet. She is of the opinion that working in food service is a character building experience (with which I wholeheartedly concur) and she still has normal non-Hollywood friends. Like me.

Reasons Judy Greer should be my friend:

1. We are both Midwestern and love feta.

2. We each have a parent who originally trained to join the Catholic clergy.

3. We’ve both taken preemptive Benadryl in order to snuggle with cats. Sometimes you need to snuggle something and a dog/husband/baby isn’t available, okay?!

If you are a fan of chick flicks, you’ll certainly recognize Judy Greer and should therefore read and/or listen to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From. If you make it through without wanting to be Judy’s pal, I’ll buy you a cookie.** On that note, Bookworms, what’s your favorite romantic comedy?!

*If you find Archer amusing, you need to check out Frisky Dingo. You can thank me later. Actually, thank Hubs. This is all his fault.

**I will not actually buy you a cookie. I’m a jerk with limited funds.

***Speaking of funds, though, if you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.***

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Jun 15

Self Inflicted Wounds and Why Aisha Tyler is My New BFF

Audio Books, Humor, Memoirs 21

Greetings Bookworms,

I love a good celebrity memoir. It can be a tricky business, though. Sometimes you’ll pick up a celebrity memoir and the celeb will be unfunny, self important, and/or preachy. All that is GREAT if you’re hate-reading, but it can be a huge disappointment when it’s a celebrity you think is awesome. Kind of bursts the bubble, you know? Luckily, the opposite can happen. For example. Aisha Tyler. I know who she is and I’ve enjoyed her work, but I’ve never been ready to join her fan club or anything. At least, not until I listened to her narration of her book Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation. Now I want her to attend all my imaginary slumber parties! (That is a phrase that probably shouldn’t be uttered by a 32 year old woman, but whatever. This is the internet. I don’t even register on the creepy scale here.)

selfinflictedwoundsIn case you needed more evidence to show that the world is an unfair place, Aisha Tyler is not only statuesque and beautiful, she’s also smart, witty, and charming. Luckily, she’s also a GINORMOUS NERD, so she is my people. I don’t trust anybody who didn’t go through an awkward phase growing up. I mean, how can you develop as a person if you don’t have weird hair or terrible fashion sense or at least one horrifying experience with a maxi pad?!

Aisha Tyler spent tons of time reading books, being awkward, and embarrassing herself. It takes a special kind of person to puke on their crush and live to tell about it. You know the recurring nightmare you have about missing a test? Aisha Tyler slept through her SATs! And she still got into an ivy league school! (The unconscious SAT was her second go at it, but still damn impressive.) Aisha Tyler’s misadventures are tremendously entertaining, but she owns her part in all of them. I find it endlessly frustrating when people act like they’ve played no part in their own misfortune. (I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this sort of thing myself on occasion, but we’re not talking about me here.) Aisha Tyler is all “Yep, I made some really stupid choices. That was a terrible idea. You probably shouldn’t stay out all night getting wasted when your SATs are in the morning. Don’t steal your mom’s favorite shirt and try to deep fry things because you’ll start a fire. Ballerina outfits should only be worn by ballerinas.”

Should you read this book? Well. If you like things that do not suck, I would say, “yes, read this book.” I laughed, I cringed, and in the end, I wanted Aisha Tyler to be my BFF. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliationokay?

Talk to me, Bookworms! Has a celebrity memoir ever changed your opinion of said celebrity? Was it in a good way or a bad way? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

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May 19

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Memoirs 36

Hello my darling Bookworms!

I know I’ve been a bit out of touch, and I do apologize, but I had a lot of good quality Aunt-ing to get done over the past week. It’s been wonderful, but I’m hopping back in the saddle. I suppose now would be an appropriate time to make a joke about being a prisoner to my book habit, because we’re going to PRISON, y’all! You know that super mega popular Netflix show everyone is talking about, Orange Is the New Black? Well. It was a book first and I’m gonna talk about it.

orangeisthenewblackYou know how when you’re in your early 20s you do crazy things? I mean, I know I spent the ages of 22-24 knee deep in a pile of very saucy novels…  (I’m basically the squarest square that ever was. Why I’m the very root of square. See what I did there? I made a math joke to prove what a nerd I am. But I digress.) When Piper Kerman was in her early 20s, she spent her time following her lady love around the globe as she conducted a drug smuggling ring. As one does when exploring her sexuality and indulging her sense of adventure.

After a while, the big smuggling bosses aren’t content to simply have Piper along for the free drinks and vacation spots. She’s asked to smuggle a suitcase of money through an airport. Everything goes according to plan, but Piper takes her stint with smuggling as a one-time-only thing and moves on with her life.

Several years later, however, her past catches up to her. Piper is convicted of a drug charge and sentenced to 15 months in a federal minimum security prison. An intriguing fish-out-of-water story, Orange Is the New Black is Kerman’s memoir of how those 15 months were spent. With the benefit of her Ivy League education and unshakable support system, Kerman is able to use her experiences to examine the unique predicament of non-violent offenders in the US Prison system.

Interspersing her narrative with statistical evidence, Kerman questions mandatory minimum sentences, the treatment of female prisoners, and the concept of prison as rehabilitation. As thought provoking as it is amusing, Orange Is the New Black is a fabulous read.

I had not seen an episode of the TV version of the show prior to reading this book, but after I mentioned it to my BFF, she insisted I watch a couple of episodes with her… While snuggling a 2 week old baby who has no concept of profanity or appropriateness, naturally. Despite the fact that I wouldn’t shut up about the inconsistencies, the show was super entertaining in its own rite. I think I’m going to have to get a subscription to Netflix.

All right, Bookworms. It’s time to own up. How many of you when watching a film or television version of a book rather loudly point out the inconsistencies? (This question is framed assuming you’re at home, of course.  It’s just RUDE to be loud in a theater.) 

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Mar 06

Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall

Flowers, Memoirs 6

Greetings Glorious Bookworms,

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but it is STILL winter here. The eternal, never done snowing, frozen, messy, gray, icky winter is still holding on. That hasn’t stopped me from pining away for spring time and my garden, though. That’s part of the reason why I was super jazzed when I given the opportunity to read Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall. *Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

mrowitaMister Owita’s Guide to Gardening is a sweet memoir in which Carol Wall tells the story of her unexpected friendship with the man she hired to tend her garden, Giles Owita.Carol had ZERO interest in gardening (heartbreaking, really), but is embarrassed by her bedraggled yard. When she sees her neighbor has hired landscaping help, she swoops in to see if he would be willing to take on another project.

Giles Owita is a Kenyan immigrant. In addition to his work as a landscaper, he holds jobs at a supermarket and a garden center. Carol, despite her best intentions, makes assumptions about Mr. Owita’s background and is mortified to learn that her assumptions were incorrect. Luckily, her sincere apologies for the occasional faux pas pave the way for them to forge a meaningful relationship.

The friendship between Carol and Giles is heartwarming. Between health problems and family complications, Carol and Giles support and encourage one another. And, of course, there are flowers. Let’s not forget about the flowers, because FLOWERS.

The only complaint I had about this book is that the conversations sounded a little too pretty… Real speech is full of “um’s” and fragments and awkward pauses. The dialogue was written in beautiful well-formed prose, but it didn’t hit me as conversational. Of course, that’s a teeny tiny complaint and it didn’t hinder my overall enjoyment of the book. If you’re withering this winter the way I am, give Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening a try!

And while we’re here and I’m still pining, let’s look at some of my flowers. I miss them so desperately!

my garden

What about you Bookworms? What are you looking forward to come spring? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Dec 11

Review & GIVEAWAY!!! Washing Cars & Wasting Time by John Oliva

Coming of Age, Humor, Memoirs 19

Greetings Bookworms!

I know, I know. I was MIA yesterday. I have a really good reason for going missing that has nothing at all to do with spending my evening having my hair dyed to camouflage my prematurely graying hair… Wait… I mean… Books!

I was recently contacted by John Oliva and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his book Washing Cars and Wasting TimeI don’t often accept review requests from authors who contact me directly, but the premise of this book piqued my interest. Washing Cars and Wasting Time is the recounting of Oliva’s time working for his family’s business, a self serve car was on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

washingcars

I was pleasantly surprised by this memoir! It’s a slim volume, but chock full of slice-of-life tidbits that make a car wash an oddly compelling place to work. Oliva’s eccentric father’s antics had me giggling, and the family’s elaborate system for counting and transporting quarters? Oh man. I’ll never look at a coffee can, a cookie sheet, or a closet the same way again… In fact, I’m a little disappointed that all the coffee cans, cookie sheets, and closets in my house are used purely for their mundane intended purposes.

At times this book reads a bit like a blog, though I say that in the most admiring way possible. (Well done blogs are a whole lot of awesome, dagnabit!) Oliva’s stories were entertaining, but it was his side commentary that really appealed to me. What can I say? I’ve BEEN to a Midwestern car wash in the winter… People are bizarre, and nobody wants road salt stains on their sweet rides, even when their “sweet rides” are held together with duct tape and chewing gum.

You know what the very best part about reviewing this book is for me, though? Getting to share it with you! John Oliva sent me a spare, autographed copy of his book to hand out to a lucky winner. Now get in there, and win yourself a fun, free book, y’all! This giveaway is limited to the US only. (International shipping is a beast, sorry guys!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received a copy of this book for review and giveaway from the author in exchange for an honest review. If you choose to purchase a copy of this book through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I almost never wash my car, even when it’s covered with road salt and grime. I also need a refill of washer fluid.*

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Sep 30

Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?

Memoirs 30

Howdy Bookworms!

If you’re anything like me, you read that title and your mind immediately started thinking of the sociological and cultural reasons behind the racial divide in the reporting of extra-terrestrial encounters. I’ve spent far too much time mulling over this topic. However, if you were a better reader than I am, you would have read the full title right off the bat: Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?: Teaching Lessons from the BronxIt’s a memoir by Ilana Garon discussing her time teaching in inner city schools. That’s right, y’all. Non-fiction. I want a cookie!

*FULL DISCLOSURE* The author of this book offered me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I was good at school and never so much as got a detention. Given Ms. Garon’s background as a teacher I wouldn’t want to give a dishonest review and land myself in detention at age 30. 

aliensIlana Garon accepted a teaching position in the Bronx fresh out of college. She joined a program that placed energetic new graduates in teaching positions in some of the country’s roughest inner city schools. The program didn’t require education majors either- Garon was not. Her student teaching experience took place during a rushed and sparsely attended summer school session. Unprepared for what awaited her, this Jewish girl from the Virginia suburbs was about to take on an impoverished and violence riddled school district.

Garon is careful to point out that her memoirs are do not fit the mold of the “hero teacher.” We’ve all seen THAT movie, right? The class full of violent misfits who miraculously turn their lives around thanks to one exceptional unorthodox teacher? Yeah. That really isn’t how it works. It does, however, include amusing anecdotes (the title of the book was taken from a student’s research paper thesis), heartbreaking stories of good kids dragged into gang violence, and the occasional story that might just make it into one of those cheeseball “hero teacher” movies.

I really enjoyed this book. I appreciated Garon’s debunking of the “hero teacher” trope. I also liked that though teaching in the Bronx wasn’t a Hollywood caliber experience, you could tell how dedicated Garon was to the students. She doesn’t try to minimalize the problems in inner city schools. She doesn’t claim to offer simple solutions. What she does is tell an honest story of her experiences, making it everything a memoir should be.

If I had one complaint, it’s a small one. I’m so used to reading fiction that I get a little thrown when a story isn’t perfectly chronological. It would have been impossible to hit the chronology perfectly,given the way Garon chose to tell her story, but I found myself occasionally thinking “Wait, didn’t that guy drop out already?” or something similar. That’s not a criticism of Garon’s work so much as my own shortcomings as a reader.

So, Bookworms, tell me. Since we’re on the subject of school and all, I may as well ask. Does anyone out there feel like they actually had a “hero teacher” or do you agree with Garon that the concept is a misguided ideal that doesn’t exist in real life?

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Jul 12

Angela's Ashes and My First World Problems

Coming of Age, Family, Memoirs 31

As I live and breathe, if it isn’t my wee Bookworms!

I hope you read that in an Irish accent, because I just finished reading Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Angela’s Ashes is the story of Frank McCourt’s childhood, if you can refer to spending your formative years in abject poverty and borderline starvation a “childhood.” This book rates right up there with Jeanette Walls’s Glass Castle for the “I cannot believe anyone could survive that” factor. Of course, McCourt darn near didn’t survive.

AngelasAshes

McCourt’s parents are both Irish immigrants. They connect at a party in Brooklyn… In more ways than one. Oh yeah. Frankie was either a miraculously fast growing fetus, or he was conceived well before his parents’s wedding. It’s the dawn of the Great Depression, but the McCourts just keep multiplying. To add to the chaos, Frank’s father Malachy is a raging alcoholic. He cannot keep a job for long, and even when he’s working the wages rarely make it beyond the pub. He regularly lines up his toddler boys to ask them if they’ll be willing to die for Ireland after a bender. I can’t say a whole lot more about this book without spoiling a ton of things, but I will tell you the family ends up moving back to Ireland… And if you thought things were bad in America, Ireland put those struggles to SHAME.

Comic by Roz Chast

Comic by Roz Chast

I ran across this cartoon and it cracked me up because it’s so true. I tend to gravitate toward the “Way Worse Than Your Life” section, so I’m going to list out a few reasons I’m feeling guilty for my first world problems, courtesy of Angela’s Ashes. I’m going to list out some things I ought to remember…

1. The next time I complain about my less than svelte physique, I shall be grateful that I’ve never had to rob an orchard for food, have a pig’s head for Christmas dinner, or give my siblings bottles of sugar and water because milk is too expensive.

2. The next time I complain about having a cold, I shall be grateful that it isn’t typhoid fever.

3. The next time I turn my nose up at cleaning my toilets, I shall be grateful that I HAVE toilets. Private toilets.

4. The next time I am frustrated with a rainy day, I shall be grateful that it does not rain inside my house.

5. The next time I look in my messy closet, I shall be grateful that it is full of clothes that are clean and do not contain parasites.

Have any of you Bookworms read a book that smacked you upside the head with how lucky you are? Do you prefer your memoirs from the “Way Worse Than Your Life” section, too? Tell me about it!

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Jul 01

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

Coming of Age, Memoirs 34

How Now, Bookworms?

Y’all know how much I love a good humorous memoir. David SedarisJenny LawsonTina FeyRachel Dratch, Mindy Kaling? I love hearing about real people’s lives. I am voyeuristic and nosy. I’ll own up to it. Thus, when I was offered a copy of The World’s Strongest Librarian by Johs Hanagarne, I couldn’t pass it up.

worldsstrongestlibrarian

Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was offered a copy by a literary agent through NetGalley, which made my ego soar because I AM NOT INVISIBLE. That said, the price of my integrity is a lot higher than an unfinished galley copy of a book, so you need not worry about me lying about liking or hating a book. Expensive soul, right here. (It would take like 4 real unicorns, a flock of housebroken penguins, a time machine, and eleventy billion dollars to get me to lie about a book… At that point nobody would believe anything I said anyway though, thanks to the unicorns…) 

Sometimes I think I should write a book about my life. Then I realize it would be like “hey look at me! I’m pretty average! I’m so average it’s actually boring… Sometimes there were tutus?” The trick to writing a great memoir is having a good story, and Josh Hanagarne has lived a fascinating life.

First things first. Josh has Tourette’s Syndrome. There’s a pretty lame stereotype floating around that portrays people with Tourette’s running around spouting outbursts of profanity. It’s so much more than that, and most vocal tics don’t manifest as curse words…  It’s involuntary muscle spasms. Twitches. Vocal tics of nonsense words. Hanagrarne describes the tics as being similar to the buildup of a sneeze. Can you imagine how frustrating that would be? Constant sneeze buildups? Oh my WORD! Despite his struggles with Tourette’s, Hanagarne had a happy childhood. The Hanagarne family ADORES and SUPPORTS Josh. Sure, there was some teasing in school, but the feeling of home as sanctuary was palpable. Now, I’m not saying that EVERYONE has horrifying parents like Jeanette Walls did, but most of the real life parents I’ve read about certainly have some shortcomings. While the Hanagarne parentals did have a few quirks, they all combined to make them fantastic parents. It was sweet, but not in an annoying way. It just made me want to hug them all and want to be invited over for dinner.

The title of this book makes me think of old timey strong men. That is one glorious mustache. Source

The title of this book makes me think of old timey strong men. That is one glorious mustache. Source

Hanagarne was raised in the Mormon church. Like anyone else, I’ve known people of the LDS faith, but I avoid discussing religion as a general rule. Theological debate makes me uncomfortable (only because it tends to make people defensive and/or confrontational, and I don’t like arguing), so I prefer to learn about other faiths from behind the safety of a book.  I got a whole new perspective on what being a Mormon is all about, and how potentially difficult it could be for someone who was experiencing a crisis of faith. Hanagarne showcases the positive and negative aspects of his experience with honesty and balance.

There’s also stuff about weight lifting and exercise and how that helped/hindered the treatment of the Tourette’s. Dude is HUGE! He’s like super tall and trains like a boss with weights and kettlebells. He even does those awesome highland games competitions where they wear kilts and throw giant rocks. It’s kind of awesome.

Finally? LIBRARY LOVE! Hanagarne has a love affair with the library starting from a very young age. He also had a crush on Fern from Charlotte’s Web which is quite possibly the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard. He’s a literature junky his entire life and ends up working in a library! This book contained everything a good memoir should: humor, humility, joy, sadness, frustration, and acceptance. FEELINGS! I’ve got them. So does Josh Hanagarne… Only he is more articulate than I could ever be. Hats off to you, sir. Keep on keeping on.

So, Bookworms, I must know. What would the title of your memoir be?

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Jan 11

Blogstalker Book Club: Girl Walks Into a Bar… By Rachel Dratch

Blogging, Book Club, Humor, Memoirs 33

Hello Blogstalking Bookworms!

This book club is the brain child of the beautiful and talented Lauren of Filing Jointly…Finally (who Justin Timberlake may or may not have slapped with a restraining order…) Did you read along with us this month? Our selection was Rachel Dratch’s memoir, Girl Walks Into A Bar… Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle. I’ve pretty much decided that the world’s most amazing slumber party would include Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling. I want them to be my friends! (Lauren, you can totally come to our slumber party, JT won’t be there.)

Hi Rachel!

Hi Rachel! I can french braid!

So. Girl Walks into a Bar… starts out with Rachel’s post Saturday Night Live life. She was a cast member from 1999-2006. These were some of my prime SNL watching years. I really wanted to find a clip of this sketch, but I couldn’t, so I’m just going to describe it and do it no justice whatsoever. Okay? So. Rachel Dratch and Jimmy Fallon played these obnoxious Boston teenagers named Sully and Denise. They were always going to keggers, getting wasted, having loud fights, and making out in the middle of them. Good fun. The sketch that cracked me up was when Ben Affleck hosted. Affleck lost it in a big way and kept saying “Bro…. bro…Bro. Bro! Bro.” Everyone in the scene was cracking up, which somehow makes everything THAT MUCH FUNNIER when you’re watching SNL at home, alone, in your childhood bedroom. Anyway. It was hysterical. Do any of you have a favorite Rachel Dratch SNL story to share? Please tell me I’m not the only person who spent her formative Saturday nights at home alone watching television! 

I found this image at SNL Pictures

I found this image at SNL Pictures

Dratch was on poised for what should have been a brilliant post SNL career. She was even cast as Jenna in the pilot for 30 Rock (her good pal Tina Fey’s brain child.) Only. Well. As Dratch puts it, in real life she’s a decent looking lady. Unfortunately, by Hollywood’s impossible standards, she’s…not. When they tested the pilot for 30 Rock she was replaced with Jane Krakowski (let’s not take anything away from Jane’s work though- her Jenna is fantastically psychotic.) Dratch was all “well, that sucks, but TV is like that. We’re cool, Tina. We’re cool, Jane. I’ll do some weird characters from time to time.” Sadly, it would not go quietly into that good night! The media picked up on the story and it was all “Scandal! Homely Dratch replaced by Bombshell!” To add insult to embarrassment, the only roles Dratch was being offered were for lesbian secretaries. What the what? Reading this portion of Dratch’s memoir made me sad. Then, because I’m terribly self involved, I started to worry about how ugly Hollywood would think I am. Anybody else experience this neurosis? 

Dratch decides to tackle her life with sporadic work by meeting the NYC dating scene head-on. Before Dratch could date effectively, she had to break out of her comfort zone. She had TONS of social engagements… With her gal pals, comedy guys, and gay man friends. Oh Rachel Dratch! This is why I love you! I went to my junior prom with a gal pal (and we bought a couple’s ticket even though we got weird looks from the administration because DAMNIT, if we had to go to prom without dates, we were going to save $10.) I went to two homecoming dances and my senior prom with gay dudes (it wasn’t like a secret or anything, we all knew where we stood. We both got to dance and nobody got to make out with anybody.  The parentals were actually quite pleased with this arrangement.) Even though it’s kind of off-topic, I’d love to hear your weird high school dance stories!

Me and my Junior Prom Date.

Me and my Junior Prom Date.

Me and my Senior Prom date.

Me and my Senior Prom date.

Whenever I read dating horror stories, I’m always shocked that somewhere all these nightmare people likely eventually find someone to put up with their weird crap. How’s about the drunken horse meat guy? He’s everything on paper- good job, speaks foreign language, hungers for equine flesh… Riiight. Eventually she does meet a nice guy. They live on opposite coasts, but that’s not important. They hang out! They drink wine! They eat delicious foods! And then Rachel gets pregnant! By accident! At 43! Oops! This part kind of cracked me up, actually. It’s funny because everyone always thinks unexpected pregnancies happen to under informed teenagers, but some of my favorite people were late in reproductive life woopsies. After Rachel had come to terms with the idea that she’d never have kids BAM! Left hook from a pee stick.

I was more touched by this book that I expected to be. I mean, I expected to laugh, which I did, but I didn’t expect it to be so deeply personal. I love that this ends with Dratch getting a happy ending she never expected. Sure, she’s still only being offered roles for lesbian secretaries, but she found joy in a life she did NOT see coming. I love the message this gives about life’s unpredictability. Sure, things may not go according to plan, but if you find the humor in life and keep your head high, you might end up at a magical slumber party with Rachel Dratch! How did everyone else like the book? Tell me about it!

Next month’s book club selection will be Matched by Ally Condie. It’s YA literature, but everybody’s reading it, so we must too!  (Peer pressure. I’m susceptible.)

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