Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting
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Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  487 ratings  ·  118 reviews
"Gut-splittingly funny...a deeply moving account of a boy's attempt to control his world with his own brand of magic." --People magazine, 4 stars.

Tracey Ullman once described Eric Poole as "the best undiscovered writer I ever met." Now the world can enjoy his achingly honest wit and gift for capturing real life characters in this memoir about growing up in the 1970's wi...more
Kindle Edition, 275 pages
Published May 27th 2010 by Berkley (first published 2010)
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First things first, I was alerted to this book's existence on facebook, by a former high school classmate. Sally posted about this book, written by yet another high school classmate of ours(yay for the Class of 78). Honestly I knew Eric's name, and I remembered him as tall, thin and in the band, and I didn't know much else. It's likely I was just as forgettable 32 years later, I was short, average, not part of any particular group and just one of over 700 in our graduating class.
What I did disc...more
Where’s My Wand? One Boy’s Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting by Eric Poole is not only hilarious, sincere, and totally enjoyable for any type of reader, but as far as memoirs go (and I like to think of myself as a memoir connoisseur) Where’s My Wand? is one of those rare books that just makes you laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Where has Eric Poole been hiding all of my life? You will certainly grow to love this small boy as I have (the book follows Eric’s life from age eight to ad...more
Reviewed in conjunction with I Want to Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth

I read these memoirs back to back inside of a week and, despite their differences, it’s difficult to review them separately. At their core, both are memoirs about growing up as the outlier in a Southern Baptist family and finding personal faith within that environment. The authors differ in their approach – Mr. Poole glides through his tome with humor while religion is front, center, and sideways in Ms. Peterson’...more
I really enjoyed this book from the problems with shag carpeting to the young boy who felt like an outsider and dearly wanted friends, to slowly becoming young man who made his mark in school with his trumpet. I will probably give it to one of my friends but I hate to give it up.
In Where’s My Wand, Eric Poole shows why he adopted magic as a way of defense from his family situation. When his father got laid off from work, his mother grew more overbearing and more obsessive compulsive to cleanlin...more
This is Eric Poole's episodic memoir of growing up in the 1970s in the city of St. Louis. If I were rating this book solely on content I probably would have given in three stars; however, the writing is razor sharp, and laugh-out-loud hysterical at times. This book focuses on his long-suffering father, his older sister, and his cleanliness-obsessed mother, who if Obsessive Cleanliness disorders would have been the rave in the 1970's; she would have worn the crown.

The fact that Poole's idol was...more
Em!ly S.
I definitely enjoyed the humor Mr. Poole used while detailing his humiliating moments of childhood/adolescence. Reading this book had me reflecting on my own funny/embarrassing/poignant moments while growing up (which I always enjoy doing-- "The Wonder Years" was my favorite tv series for many years!) I was a little confused as to what the point of the book was, where it was going, and if it was going to all come together. The last chapter finally did it for me. Not only was it my favorite chapt...more
Some pretty funny and equally endearing stories about a tough childhood. It bothered me a bit that the book turned into a religious soul-search, but I was able to accept it as part of the author's journey with magic. And, am I the only one who was annoyed that the book is called "Where's My Wand?" but he doesn't actually use a wand in the book, EVER? It should be called "Where's My Chenille Endora Blanket?"
Jen Marchain
Jun 18, 2012 Jen Marchain is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by a co-worker for our book club read. I am only two chapters in and I am in love with it!
This was one of the funniest books I've read in awhile. The author recounts growing up in suburban St. Louis and his attempts to control the circumstances of his life via magic a la Endora from Bewitched. There were so many descriptions that made me laugh. Like his grandmother's voice "that had long since passed Lauren Bacall-sexy and was well on its way to Addams Family's Lurch" and her cat who was "the feline reincarnation of Joseph Stalin." Or his mother's description of their neighbors the M...more
I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads sweepstakes. The title intrigued me, specifically the mention of shag carpeting.
As the book opened in media res with an argument between his parents, I was preparing myself for a stereotypical memoir of a middle-class, suburban upbringing.
Which in many ways it was: the neurotic mother, the "creative" (and hence outcast) child, changing relationships, introduction to sexuality. One complaint I had is that each chapter felt more like an ep...more
Jill Furedy
The title of this book caught my eye when it first came out, so I finally picked it up. There was a lot of stuff that made me laugh out loud (I found his author's note appropriate, where he said he was David Sedaris & Fran Lebowitz's love child...at least from Sedaris, don't know Lebowitz). However there was less magic than I expected. I thought he was going to be more obsessed with it and it would pervade every couple of pages at least. As it was, he only disappeared into the basement once...more
Eric Poole grew up believing that he could do magic, perform miracles, and talk to god – if he was wearing his special chenille bedspread and channeling Endora from Bewitched (while visualizing the change he wanted to see in the world and making arcane gestures). He uses his special powers to bring his parents back together, make friends with the armless girl in school, and exorcise the demons of homosexuality. Some of his other “spells” have more ambiguous consequences and Eric has to admit tha...more
Nicholas Husbye
Eric Poole's Where is My Wand is one of the latest entries into the world of memoirs written by successful gay men detailing their awkward and unpopular childhood. Poole's narratives were cohesive - a fact I appreciated after reading Wade Rouse's disjointed America's Boy a few weeks ago - anchored by his love for all things pop culture. The title is a bit misleading in this regard; Poole's magical triumph has little to do with a wand and more with a chenille bed spread, which he uses to emulate...more
"Perhaps it was my parents' relationship - which seemed to be devolving into nightly performances of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? sans the Edward Albee script and intermissions - that sparked my interest in magic. Perhaps it was because my new third-grade teacher, a sadist in stilettos named Mrs. Locke, had it in for me. Today, Mrs. Locke would be able to positively channel her aggression into a career as a bounty hunter or an Attica prison guard, but in 1969, her only outlet was a group of u...more
Even though it seems this book could be shelved in the "Abyssmal Parenting Memoir" section of my library (i.e "The Glass Castle", "Unravelling Anne", "Running With Scissors" etc., etc.), it turns out to be much more.

Eric Poole's memoir recounts how he grew up in St. Louis in the 70s, how his unusual family life was puzzling and difficult for him to endure as a child, and how, as the years passed, he came to gain a better perspective on his parents and his own place in the world. Turns out they w...more
I received "Where's My Wand?" (uncorrected proof for limited distribution) as part of Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. I'm not usually a reader of humorists, so I was intrigued by the other reviews and comments, but didn't really have any specific expectations for the book. While there were several funny laugh-out-loud retorts--mostly commentary from Poole's OCD, commandeering, yet frustrated, mother and a few from Poole himself, the chapters of his life growing up in a small Midwestern town were...more
Aug 20, 2010 Lori rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seventies Survivors, Sedaris fans
My emotions about the 1970s are mixed, to say the least. Take a look at my review of James Lilek's "Interior Desecrations" and you will see that, along with Lileks, I have come not to praise the Keep on Truckin' era...but to bury it. Lately, now that this bilious tinged decade is almost 40 years behind us, I have softened just a bit. And I begin to realize that there are those little details I almost miss.

Eric Poole was a huge loser in the 70s as well as being a Bewitched groupie. Already he and...more
Bill Taylor
Mr.Poole remains true to the title of this winner of a book. He never finds the "wand" or in essence the magic of Endora he's looking for to bewitch the tragic circumstances of his life. Everything from the overbearing obsessive compulsive tendencies of his mother...to his oft-times oblivious father...to his annoying teenage sister....and let us not forget to mention the bullying peers who are all to keen to pick up on his questionable gender identity issues.

Yet amidst the gut wrenching humor......more
Full disclosure--this was a First Reads win for me.

I have a feeling that Eric Poole and I would have been good friends had we grown up in the same place and time. I can completely relate to his not belonging but not understanding why (because he really was a sweet guy in a wacky household!). I can relate to his struggle to improve his life by invoking magic and then god as a youth, then wondering why both are inconsistent.

Where's My Wand? is a quick, easy, and enjoyable read. Poole is funny, but

It was a humorous take on what must have been a challenging childhood, although the author was lucky that even though his parents were religious enough to go to three services a week in a Southern Baptist church and were totally dysfunctional in so many ways, they loved him. And they told both him and others that they loved him, even though it was clear pretty early in his life that he was gay, or at least really feminine for a boy. :-)

But there were things that irritated me enough to knock my r...more
This was a book I won from a Goodreads giveaway. I was very excited by the premise and had high hopes when I started the novel, but I felt a little let down. I don't like Augusten Borroughs' work very much, although I do really love certain books by David Sedaris, and I had heard this novel as a sort of in-between. I didn't find it that way. While certain parts made me smile, none of them made me actually laugh.
The first issue I had with the book was Eric's mother. I think it's possible that sh...more
Jodi Lu
Upon finishing, I stick with my mid-way progress review that this guy's just not a very good writer. The book wants some major editing and professional touches.
BUT, it's not terrible to read. The thread of religion and magic is sort of forced and weak, but it was a quick and entertaining, albeit predictable.
He's also not a great editor. Occasionally he even uses an adjective again that he JUST used, but it seems accidental, not for some greater accumulation of "sparkly" or whatever word it may b...more
Katharine Grubb Hawkinson
I won this book from the Good Reads First Reads sweepstakes. And I was glad I did- I really was excited when I opened the mail!

An entertaining read. Poole certainly writes in the style of Sedaris, but where Poole succeeds in being different is pulling his stories together thematically- in this case using his magic. Additionally, Poole's family isn't trying to be funny- they just are who they are.

What I enjoyed was starting the book laughing- I read it aloud to my grinning husband. There are some...more
Sonia Reppe
Writing about various episodes in his youth, including peer harassment, family craziness and his relationship with his trumpet, Poole concocts a fairly entertaining read. A competent writer, he was able to conjure up humor in almost every sentence, yet so many punchy lines made it seem facetious. The best humor for me is when truth is revealed, not covered up and twisted into something goofy. I didn't know what to believe. I felt like I didn't get the whole picture and it didn't feel like memoir...more
I got to around page 100 before I gave up. If you weren't aware of my David Sedaris pet peeve, here it is: any author that writes "humor" essays, is automatically compared to David Sedaris in the reviews printed on their book covers. I love David Sedaris, so I fall in to the trap of reading these shit core books often. So, because this guy is gay and writing a book of essays that were supposed to be funny, of course he was automatically the "love child of David Sedaris" or whatever.
This book...more
Brian Kennedy
Poole's writing is fast, funny and witty. Every chapter is more or less a stand alone essay about growing up as an alienated gay youth in St. Louis in the 1970's. The only thing that bothered me, was that he tried to string his essays together using a weak through line-- that he was obsessed with Eudora from "Bewitched," and thought he could use magic to make his life better. This concept would have been funny if it had been written as it's own chapter. But trying to tie it in to every chapter m...more
May 06, 2010 Velma rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Burroughs, Sedaris
Right up there with Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors and most anything written by David Sedaris, Where's My Wand? is a comic romp of a Bewitched-infused magic carpet ride through the 70s.

If you enjoy Sedaris & Burroughs memoirs, Eric Poole's wry account of growing up in an ahem, eccentric family will make you chuckle. Poole's childhood experiences run more to the character-building than the heart-wrenching; not as dark as Jeannette Walls' Glass Castle, Wand is the newest entry into...more
I really, really wanted to like this book. And while I only read one Augusten Burroughs book and deemed him too sad even for me, I did love David Sedaris and assumed I'd love Eric Poole as well. Unfortunately, it just wasn't meant to be. While Eric tried to regale me with funny stories about his family, I was too distracted, wondering who calls their mom Mother? Every time a member of the Christian army was brought up, I mentally put their name to memory should I hear it again when the news feat...more
Any comparison to David Sedaris was made by the author himself - I've read David Sedaris, and you, sir, are no David Sedaris. Occasionally amusing, never ROFLMAO-worthy, this memoir of a young boy growing up in a bizarro world in Missouri where his best friend in childhood was a feisty young girl with no arms, his mother must be an undiagnosed bipolar alcoholic and the author retreats far too frequently to the gimmick of a magical world (hence the wand reference) controlled by a special bedsprea...more
This book came recommend by an author (Laurie Notaro) whom I have both read and enjoyed. She appreciated it for its humor and insight. I'd have to agree. This book was a quick but charming read.

This book is the journey of a young man through his (sometimes painful) middle and high school years as he learns to cope with a neatnik mother, bullying and finding his way in the world. His belief in magic, God, and eventually himself are told with both humor and wisdom. Growing up can be hard. But it...more
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Eric Poole is the secret love child of Fran Lebowitz and David Sedaris. But oddly taller. A VP of marketing for a major media company and the winner of 30+ advertising awards, Eric was once called "the best undiscovered writer I've ever met" by Tracey Ullman, an accolade he continues to live up to. He resides in Los Angeles with his partner of eight years. (from Amazon)
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