Where the majority of Sedaris' books are based on his own experiences, this one gives us a blend of both personal essays and short fiction stories. AlWhere the majority of Sedaris' books are based on his own experiences, this one gives us a blend of both personal essays and short fiction stories. Although Sedaris is hilarious in any form, I tend to enjoy his fiction less than tales he culls from his own life. There's just something so funny and raw about his personal essays. Still a solid collection, but probably my least favorite of his works....more
If you're in the mood for something humorous, go pick something else to read. A Wolf at the Table is dark and uncomfortable and chronicles the author'If you're in the mood for something humorous, go pick something else to read. A Wolf at the Table is dark and uncomfortable and chronicles the author's life with a disturbed father. If you've read any of Augusten Burrough's other works (especially Running with Scissors), you're already familiar with the volatile relationship between his mentally ill mother and alcoholic father. This account takes you deeper into Burrough's relationship with his father in the years that led up to his mother's mental collapse. This is a chilling read and your heart really breaks for this boy who spent his childhood in constant fear of the man who was supposed to love him most.
Tweak is certainly an engaging account of Nic Sheff's story, if hard to read at times. It started out a bit slow, but as it progressed I really found myself invested in it and pulling for Nic's recovery. He is raw and painfully honest in his memoir, which impressed me. However, I thought the writing was sub-par. Nic Sheff writes how he speaks, which some may find endearing. I did not. Fortunately, I was able to overlook the style for the larger message at hand.
Beautiful Boy and Tweak remind us that there are multiple sides to every story. There will always be fingerpointing and blame, but this is a reminder that addiction is a disease. No matter how much it hurts, there are no easy cures....more
Not my favorite Sedaris, although The Santaland Diaries may be the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Truly unconventional Christmas stories thaNot my favorite Sedaris, although The Santaland Diaries may be the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Truly unconventional Christmas stories that can be enjoyed all year long....more
2.5 stars for the writing, 4 stars for the content. The story is a true, and completely horrifying, one about a young girl who, along with her mother,2.5 stars for the writing, 4 stars for the content. The story is a true, and completely horrifying, one about a young girl who, along with her mother, father, and six siblings, faced the terror that was the Khmer Rouge in 1970's Cambodia. I knew very little about the subject matter before heading in to the book, and am somewhat ashamed to say that it was mostly the title that grabbed my attention. That, and the fact that I have a soft spot for memoirs, particurally ones of the sad/ horrifying variety. I don't know what that says about me.
Anyway, you really can't read through this without being completely heartbroken by what happened to the citizens of Cambodia while the Khmer Rouge was calling the shots. To be completely cliche, it was gut-wrenching. I'm not dismissing the message by granting this one three stars.
But it's poorly written. A lot of people have important stories to tell - they're just not always the best candidate to tell them. First They Killed My Father is a shining example of that and in my opinion would have benefited greatly from having Loung Ung tell her story to someone who could write it better. The style is choppy and overly simplistic. As she was a young child throughout most of the events of the book, it may have been Ung's intention to make the reader feel as though they were hearing the story from a 5-year-old girl. Maybe not. Either way, I ended up being glad for the message, but not impressed with the actual telling of it.
*** As a note to anyone who may pick up a copy ... my edition had several pictures in the middle. I'm always a fan of pictures. However, the narrative that accompanied the pictures included a couple big spoilers. I would recommend waiting until after you've finished the story to go back and look at the photos. ***...more
This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read. And I read a lot of memoirs. Alexandra "Bobo" Fuller tells the story of growing up as a child with "thThis is one of the best memoirs I've ever read. And I read a lot of memoirs. Alexandra "Bobo" Fuller tells the story of growing up as a child with "the wrong color skin" in Africa. Fuller's voice is honest and unsentimental, and her story is told with heaps of wit and dry humor. She shows her family in all their flaws, and her love of the unforgiving land that raised her shines throughout the book.
This is a story of tragedy, injustice, and tension. But it is also a tale of love, growth, and the ability to find humor in the most unlikely of circumstances. I cannot recommend it highly enough....more
I read this about a year or so ago. I think I went into it expecting a sort of funny memoir a la Augusten Burroughs or (be still my heart) my favoriteI read this about a year or so ago. I think I went into it expecting a sort of funny memoir a la Augusten Burroughs or (be still my heart) my favorite, David Sedaris. Alas, from what I remember, this book is much heavier. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood, but I didn't really get into this one and it felt really drawn out....more
Jen Lancaster is a funny lady. That said, I get a bit tired of the footnotes, although the content in them is generally pretty funny. I usua3.5 stars.
Jen Lancaster is a funny lady. That said, I get a bit tired of the footnotes, although the content in them is generally pretty funny. I usually get to the bottom of the page, see a footnote, and realize I missed seeing it at the passage it corresponds to. I just really don't like footnotes all that much. Plus the blatant self-promotion footnotes really got on my nerves. But I laughed out loud several times during this book - the second time Jen visits Jenny Craig and the instructor is sitting on a stability ball a la Dwight Schrute from the office almost made me cry I was laughing so hard.
This book is about dieting, and from that aspect it's pretty inspirational. This is a woman who takes the weight off the right way - the hard way. It's a fun read, with a bit more to it than most chick-lit books....more
I'm glad I stuck with this book, because I ended up really liking Indonesia, but I was so frustrated with India that I wanted to tear my hair out andI'm glad I stuck with this book, because I ended up really liking Indonesia, but I was so frustrated with India that I wanted to tear my hair out and chuck the book across the room.
A lot of people loved this book. Of the people who didn't, the main comment I've heard is that the memoir is so self-indulgent - they seem to be of the opinion that Gilbert's problems are less important than those of the rest of us because she got paid to take a year of travel with which to deal with them. Oh the horror. She's a writer, people. Of course she got paid to do this. And more power to her for doing so. My issue was not with the fact that she got paid a presumably hefty amount of money to do her self-exploration. I just absolutely could not handle how whiny she was in India. Just pray, already, and get over it.
I had my doubts when I picked this up, because anything overtly spiritual tends to raise my hackles (just being honest), and this book was no exception. I can certainly see the appeal of it, though, and I actually quite enjoyed Italy and Indonesia. Elizabeth Gilbert is a funny, intelligent writer. Had it not been for being in a constant state of eye-rolling throughout the second third of the book, this probably would have garnered a higher rating. ...more
I dare you to try and not like this book. I guarantee you'll fail. This book is a beautifully crafted mix of everything. It's about music, yeah. ThereI dare you to try and not like this book. I guarantee you'll fail. This book is a beautifully crafted mix of everything. It's about music, yeah. There's talk of some pretty sweet tunes in there and anyone who grew up in the 80's and 90's knows the significance of the mix tape. The book is also one of the greatest unconventional love stories I've ever read.
Reading Love Is a Mix Tape is like listening in on the soundtrack to Rob Sheffield's life. He takes you through the music of his youth, failed first loves, and then "The One." He meets and marries Renee, and writes about the whole process in such a way that the reader falls in love with her too. This book is also, finally, about grief. After five years of marriage, Renee dies without warning and Rob is left to try and remember how to do things without her.
This book made me nostalgic, it made me laugh, and it made me sad. A book that can toy that thoroughly with your emotions is definitely worth reading....more
The rating system for this kind of book is completely inadequate. This is not the kind of book you think of in terms of "I liked it" or "I loved it" -The rating system for this kind of book is completely inadequate. This is not the kind of book you think of in terms of "I liked it" or "I loved it" - it's more like "It took me two weeks to read all 180 pages of this book because I had to put it down and cry like a baby between each gut-wrenching story." I feel bad giving it three stars, because it's incredibly well-written, and it's such an important story to be told. But I just can't reconcile this collection of short stories with the words, "I loved it." Because it's frightening just how banal and everyday Borowski made the most hideous war crimes sound to the prisoners in his stories. And the reason it's so alarming is because everything gets immeasurably bleaker in your mind as you start to realize that it's true - there were no heroes in Aushwitz or Dachau or any of the other camps where millions suffered. There were only people doing what they were told they had to do to survive, whether that meant stealing shoes off a dead man's body or removing the masses of human corpses from the incoming transports. There was no glimmer of hope or comfort to be found.
From "The January Offensive:"
The four of us became involved in a heated discussion with the poet, his silent wife and his mistress (the philologist), by maintaining that in this war morality, national solidarity, patriotism and the ideals of freedom, justice and human dignity had all slid off man like a rotten rag. We said that there is no crime that a man will not commit in order to save himself. And, having saved himself, he will commit crimes for increasingly trivial reasons; he will commit them first out of duty, then from habit, and finally - for pleasure.
This is an important piece of literature - one that takes a while to get through and requires many breaks in between. I'm glad I read this, but know that the images from these pages will continue to haunt me....more
Always intrigued by anything having to do with mental health, I spent months looking forward to the day when this would reach the top of my TBR pile -Always intrigued by anything having to do with mental health, I spent months looking forward to the day when this would reach the top of my TBR pile - only to be fairly disappointed by it. The book chronicles the summer of 1996 when Michael Greenberg's 15-year old daughter (Sally) is struck mad. The story spans only a 3-month period, with some notes at the end of what has become of Sally thrown in like an afterthought. The first half of the book was inconsistent, sprinkled with too many references to other texts, and just didn't feel ... heartfelt, for lack of a better word. Greenberg tells his story with such a clinical air that it's hard to get in to. The second half did pick up, but this isn't one of those books you can't put down and walk away from. I wanted to like this a lot a more than I did.
If you're looking for a good memoir of a parent watching a child's descent into illness/ madness, I would suggest Beautiful Boy by David Sheff instead. Beautiful Boy is an compelling story - Hurry Down Sunshine could have been, but I feel like Greenberg missed the mark....more