Why I'm Like This: True Stories
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Why I'm Like This: True Stories

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,845 ratings  ·  160 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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Community Reviews

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Stephanie
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.
megan
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
Nancy Rossman
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...more
Kari Mathias
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...more
Wanda
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.
Ciara
Nov 29, 2008 Ciara rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.
Cyndi Davis
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.
Kate
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
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.
Pete
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
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.
Mom
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
Lara
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...more
Gerry
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...more
Tracy Byrnes
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...more
Dennis
Oct 12, 2007 Dennis rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Animlgrl
Felt exhausting just reading it. Made it to page 46 before I came annoyed with her...at 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.
Sarah
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Jocelynne Broderick
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Mike Jensen
Pretty funny memoir. From the jacket cover, I was hoping it would be more funny...like a female version of David Sedaris. Not so, but kind of close every now and then.
Amanda
May 14, 2014 Amanda rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.
Marissa
It was funny at times but otherwise not all that impressive
Paula Dembeck
This book is a collection of short little personal stories emerging from the author’s life. Some are funny, some are sad, some are a bit dull. There are lots of stories or parts of stories that you recognize were part of your life too, and that is where it has its charm. At first I did not like it at all, and I almost abandoned it at one point. But I have learned to stick with a book for a bit and I am glad I did with this one as it seemed to redeem itself as I continued. Or maybe I just got int...more
Lyndsey
I never read memoirs--my sister ONLY reads memoirs--so I decided to give one a try. This is a collection of personal essays, some of which are good. Most are blah and some are bad (including, unfortunately, the very first two). Occasionally she is clever and funny, but the book as a whole is pretty unmemorable, except one essay about her grandmother being sent to an institution for patients with Alzeimers. That's the only one I remember; it was very good.

So, I don't recommend this, and I feel ju...more
Shana
This is a great memoir comprised of interesting vignettes about family, friends, self esteem and finding yourself. It's a really quick read, and the format is great because each chapter is its own short story, so if you happen to put it down for a while, you don't have to reread the last few cchapters. This is a great book for anyone looking for a humorous and touching book about the trials and tribulations of dealing with family and friends and making it through life with a positive attitude.
Leanne Hickey
This book is all over the place, I would really enjoy reading one chapter and the next would be so dull. The reviews of this book make absolutely no sense, by no means would I say this is " knee slapping hilarious". And her stories are so ordinary it doesn't make for a good read, it seems as though anyone could have a book published if she was able too. I am more dumbstruck by the cover to cover good reviews about it, but I must say they got my attention thinking it was a worthy read.
Jen
The premise of the book is great and there are some good stories, but it would have been much better had there been some flow between chapters and unfortunately there was more than one grammatical error so it felt a little too raw for me sometimes. I did rate the book a 3, because of her descriptions of her relationship with her grandma and her experiences with Alzheimer's which resonated with my own. However, I don't anticipate recommending this to other readers.
Nicole
The back cover of the book boasts: "Knee-slapping hilarious." Eh. Not so much. I generally enjoy how some good writers can make even the mundane funny (David Sedaris comes to mind). But just because you think you're funny doesn't mean you should write. To be fair, there are some enjoyable essays here (particularly "The Good Swimmer Or How I Lost Him"), but the bulk are just collections of stuff that would be more suitable on a mildly funny blog, not in a book.
Mycala
This book was both funny and sad. One sign that it's a truly good book, though, is that I kept thinking, "Oh, I should lend this to so-and-so" and "this person would find this amusing!" From her traumatic memories of summer camp through the nightmare of dating, from her grandmother's superstitious nature and bizarre knick knacks to her grandmother's decline into dementia, from marriage through the birth of her son, this book touched my heart.
Katie Herring
So I really liked the first story/chapter. I could totally relate. There's always that one girl that everyone hates (its been me before but anyway.) But the rest of it... I was in a state of WTF the entire time. Like the last story/chapter. What the hell was that? Where did truffle pigs even come from? I do not know.

Oh. And it was definitely NOT knee slap hilarious. Maybe a little giggle worthy. But that's all.
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