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Why I'm Like This: True Stories

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,357 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
Cynthia Kaplan takes us on a hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking journey through her unique, uncensored world—her bungled romantic encounters and unsung theatrical experiences; her gadget-obsessed father, her pill-popping therapist, and her eccentric grandmothers; her fearless husband, whom she engages in an ongoing battle over which of them is the most popular person in ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2002)
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Aug 14, 2007 Stephanie rated it did not like it
Not to be harsh, but this book sounds like a bunch of random emails that I might have written, then edited, and bound into a book. I'm not a good writer. I'm sure this is someone's style to enjoy, but I actually got mad at myself for taking this book along to read instead of something more enjoyable.
Aug 09, 2008 megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: beach-reads
Funny book. The first chapter hooked me......heck, the first paragraph hooked me. Excerpt: "There was always one girld at camp whom everyone hated. It had nothing to do with cliques or teams or personal dislikes, and it was not even that everyone had discussed it an a consensus had been raised based upon certain irrefutable evidence. It was just like everyone hated lima beans and the color brown..." Then, the author introduces us to the girl inparticular that everyone hated and describes her lik ...more
Cyndi Davis
Jun 10, 2010 Cyndi Davis rated it it was amazing
I loved, loved, loved this book!! It was so freakin' funny! Cynthia Kaplan was able to articulate the internal dialogue you have in your head - that you would never say out loud to anyone else in fear that they would think you are nuts - in such a hysterical way! The whole time I was reading this book I was thinking to myself, "Oh my gosh! She is reading my mind!" I really enjoyed this read! I recommend it highly.
Nancy Rossman
May 12, 2013 Nancy Rossman rated it liked it
I'd probably give it 3.5 because much did hit home. Her honest voice, self-effacing sense of humor, poignant recollections of grandparents (especially grandma and her purse), and the telling of many childhood traumas that only years later are funny but weren't at the time. I enjoyed the read a great deal. As others have noted, it did not hit a knee slapping funny bone but I smiled a lot and nodded agreement as if, "Yep, I've been to that concert."

Cynthia's socially mixed teen years (Christian/Je
Kari Mathias
Feb 03, 2012 Kari Mathias rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. I don't say that about many things, but it's true with this one.

Kaplan is a footnote in her own stories. She floats around in the midst of other people far more interesting than she is, trying to be "funny" by airing the dirty laundry of others. Some of the people she writes about can;t have possibly given her the permission to do so, and I can only imagine how they'll feel if they happen to read this.

The very first story in the book made me lose respect for the author rig
Jan 27, 2008 Wanda added it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes peeks into others' lives.
The USA Today review on the back cover says, "Knee-slapping hilarious!" I don't think so. While the author is eccentric and sometimes funny, she is not knee-slapping funny. In that sense, the book is overrated.

It's a collection of personal (sometimes painfully so) essays. They are well-written and seem honest. But I am not sucked into the book, dying to find out what happens next. I want to finish the book just to be able to say I've finished it, not because I find it deeply interesting.
Nov 29, 2008 Ciara rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who think they are "normal" because they have been really privileged
i have written several reviews now that address my distaste for memoirs of so-called "normal" lives (which is to say, white middle-class american, no interludes of homelessness or drug abuse or anything unseemly), due to the way they don't unpack the concept that "normality" is actually pretty abnormal. this is abother book that fits into that category. the fact that i don't remember a single thing about it should illustrate the reality of its tediousness. the end.
Jul 02, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
This book was fun, cute, and even a little thought-provoking. The author bravely shares her natural, quirky and humorously realistic voice. The stories are nothing earth-shattering, just small observances of those moments that, on the surface are insignificant but, in truth, stay with us and make us who we are. A quick, fun read that will have you appreciating your own gloriously awkward self.
AJ LeBlanc
Dec 17, 2008 AJ LeBlanc rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Great read - at times funny and heartbreaking. I love hearing what goes on inside other people's heads, especially when you realize you're not the only crazy one out there. This is a well written glance at Kaplan's life, with quick snapshots from when she's a little girl all the way until she becomes a mom herself. I really enjoyed it.
Dec 14, 2012 Pete rated it did not like it
I was excited to read this book at first, but then the disappointment quickly set it. The stories don't go anywhere and are not funny or interesting in the slightest. It's also disturbingly thin with large print plus double-spacing to boot. It's almost like a high school creative writing assignment gone wrong that somehow got published.
Ann Fisher
May 22, 2011 Ann Fisher rated it it was amazing
Let me be clear, this is light reading, not great literature that will live with you forever. But predictably funny and unexpectedly moving. Kaplan writes with great honesty and generosity about her own foibles and those of her nearest and dearest. The chapter about her father the gadget king could hold its own in any anthology.
Sep 22, 2014 Peggy rated it it was ok
I finished this book fifteen days ago; why can't I remember very much? I recall it was a fairly pleasant read. Scenes from the author's past. Oh yes, it's coming back to me in bits. Her grandmother's jewelry. Camp. One part of an early boyfriend chapter that seemed discordant to me with the rest of the book. Infertility. Okay. I think I remember enough to say that although I was entertained by her voice I didn't feel that I was getting a true sense of Cynthia Kaplan (despite true in the subtitle ...more
Jun 04, 2014 Mom rated it liked it
I found this book fun, like talking with a hilarious girlfriend. Kaplan writes humorously about summer camp, junior high experiences, waitressing, failed romances, various family members. And then there are sections that are quite poignant, especially the stories/descriptions of her grandparents. After reading the book, I felt like a really knew her family, quirks and all. I was impressed with Kaplan's humor and her uncensored honesty. Not a deep or "literary" book, but a pleasant and heartfelt ...more
Jun 19, 2010 Lara rated it it was ok
It was going to be a bit of a crazy week; and I knew this going into week 15. So, I took some time to find what I hoped would be a perfect book to serve as a welcome distraction to all the Have-to, Must-do, Can-you-also, and We-really-need-you-to responsibilities of the week. When I saw USA Today's "Knee-slapping hilarious." on the back of WHY I'M LIKE THIS: TRUE STORIES by Cynthia Kaplan, I was sold.

WHY I'M LIKE THIS chronicles milestone moments in Kaplan's life that have shaped her into the wo
Jul 24, 2007 Gerry rated it it was amazing
So this book was at the Gay Library in a bunch of gifts and I searched for any GLBT content and seeing none and seeing the stellar reviews and blurbs ("like David Sedaris... only a woman!") I brought it home to continue the short-humorous-essay kick I'm now suddenly on.

What is *Cynthia Kaplan* on? How is is that she's drilled into my brain?

How is it that me: ur-Catholic, male, gay, practically mid-westerner was speared in the heart by a Jewish, female, straight, mom from the greater New York ar
C.G. Garcia
Nov 05, 2015 C.G. Garcia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I have re-read this impulse buy at least 3 times over the past decade. Kaplan's memoirish essays run the gamut from girls camp to dysfunctional shrinks to infertility. Her writing is slick and fun without too much navel-gazing. Even better - she's experienced real life, and a lot of it. There is a New York realism at work here, rather than a "I've logged a lot of hours in an MFA program and have this to show for it" type of feel. Yay!
I thought perhaps this was a famous person, maybe, a sort of female Stephen Tobolosky? It wasn't anyone I'd heard of before, but I thought, they have a book detailing their life, I liked the title, I liked the picture.

The first story was funny, about the camp girl, well till it took a turn for the statutory rape. Then it wasn't so funny. Then it got very boring and very uninteresting.

I kept wondering what the point of this book was. I assumed there was some sort of supply and demand that caused
Wendy Williams
Jul 19, 2015 Wendy Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This was the best book I've read in a long time!! It was not only entertaining but touching as well. Cynthia is an outstanding writer and easily captured and was able to keep my attention throughout the entire book (which is quite an accomplishment due to my short attention span lol). I, of course, love her humor but I also enjoyed the stories she wrote about her mother dying of cancer. I normally don't like sad, heart-wrenching stories but she was able to convey the stories in a fun and lighthe ...more
May 26, 2015 Tricia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 rounded up to 3. This book started out strong. I loved the chapters about the author's childhood, parents and grandparents. They were sweet, funny and charming. Then the book took a huge nosedive with chapters about her infertility/fertility struggle and the birth of her son. It was like two separate books smooshed together.
Tracy Byrnes
Aug 12, 2008 Tracy Byrnes rated it it was amazing
I first read this book about five years ago and it is the reason I started writing again. Oh, I remember thinking, books can be insightful AND smart AND funny! Why didn't I already know this? Probably because I was a student then and thought that good writing was when old Russians told about war.

Not that it isn't, but this is better because it's so much fun. You'll remember it years after the pop quiz. One essay, about the author's grandmother, still chokes me up when I think of its last line. A
Oct 12, 2007 Dennis rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who like to laugh
I was at DiBo and Tricia's place for Sunday Dinner and I was looking through Tricia's bookcase to see what she had to read and I came across this book with an interesting title (I always judge a book by it's cover and title) Why I'm Like This and I was immediately interested, especially since it was true stories (I'm sorta a memoir and essay junkie). I can't say that I picked it up right away, but I put it in my work bag, just in case I was inspired to read while on the train or while on lunch ( ...more
May 08, 2015 Cassi rated it it was amazing
I picked this up and couldn't put it down, finishing it in about a week (because I still have to work and socialize). Kaplan has a quick wit about her and it shows in her writing style and delivery. This a a fantastic unique read that I'll be sure to pass on to friends.
Jul 20, 2014 Animlgrl rated it did not like it
Shelves: tried-2014
Felt exhausting just reading it. Made it to page 46 before I came annoyed with this point in the book she is talking about her crappy therapist who is taking drugs from her and living out of her office. Boo. And yawn. And other ways to communicate it was boooorrring.
Sep 07, 2014 Courtney rated it did not like it
I am convinced the four and five stars for this book had to be from friends and relatives. Laugh out loud funny?? Knee slapping hilarious?? Was I reading the same book? I kept reading out of boredom but if I had anything else with me I would have ended at chapter one just based on how poorly this was written. Each chapter is basically a short story, but within those few pages she jumps around so much it is like a conversation with someone that keeps forgetting details and has to jump back and fo ...more
Jan 24, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2016 Sadie rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-own, memoir, 2015
I thought this book was awful. Terrible writing, trying way to hard to be funny. It was one of those books for that made me think, "If this can get published then maybe I can too." This is not high praise.
Jocelynne Broderick
Aug 13, 2008 Jocelynne Broderick rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Jensen
Aug 27, 2014 Mike Jensen rated it really liked it
Pretty funny memoir. From the jacket cover, I was hoping it would be more a female version of David Sedaris. Not so, but kind of close every now and then.
Bonnie Fazio
Two things Kaplan totally nails: moth phobia, and certain aspects of parenthood. I didn't love every chapter equally, but I adored several of them.
May 14, 2014 Weezie rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
The book read like a bunch of snarky emails. This was my second attempt to read it and I really had to bite the bullet and just power through.
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