Jake's Reviews > The Partly Cloudy Patriot

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
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's review
Oct 06, 11

bookshelves: essays, memoir, non-fiction, politics
Read from September 23 to October 03, 2011

I will probably read everything Sarah Vowell ever writes now. She has such a calm and collected sense of humor and a deadpan delivery. It's hard to write deadpan in reflective essays of your life, conjuring up jokes at your own expense and presenting them like nonchalant throwaways for the sake of a bit, all while laying out groundwork for political, historical and contemporary observations. But she does it with a familiar NPR narrative pacing and a tremendous appreciation of essay-writing.

The book's not written so much with humor as it is with sincerity. It's a thoughtful and genuine collection about a nerdy leftist New Yorker (who visits Gettysburg on her birthday and is eternally motivated in life by being the surprise twin at birth). She writes with humor as a tool and not a force. It's subtle, but it's always there. I want to know all about her history tourism and her quiet "oh well...but also fuck this" interpretations of life.

Movies and television have shown me endless variations of the Sarah Vowell character: a girl on both sides of everything. She's timid but critical, soft-spoken but loud, small appearance but big personality. It's just really enjoyable to finally read what the character's writing.
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