Tung's Reviews > Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories

Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories by Mike Birbiglia
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's review
Sep 12, 12

it was ok
bookshelves: memoirs, humor
Read in September, 2012

I found Birbiglia’s stand-up special “What I Should Have Said Was Nothing” hysterical. I love his delivery, and his stories are solid. Descriptions of this book enticed me – Birbiglia’s humor and storytelling combined with relationship drama? Sign me up. Sleepwalk with Me is essentially a memoir that describes his childhood, his choice of comedy as a career, and his many (many, many) early failings trying to break into professional comedy. Despite my fondness for Birbiglia’s comedy, at the end of this book, I found myself somewhat underwhelmed. On one hand, there were many moments throughout this memoir where I was laughing out loud; Birbiglia is nothing if not funny. On the other hand, I had two big issues. The first is that roughly 35-50% of this book is material from his stand-up specials. Some of the material is expanded slightly in this retelling, but those who have listened to his jokes multiple times will find this book repetitive. A bigger issue is that what I had thought would be a major part of this book doesn’t actually come until the last chapter. Birbiglia’s recounting of his relationship issues and how that led to his sleepwalking is clearly the best part of the book – but it is isolated in this final chapter, and all the stuff prior to it is simply comedy filler. As a comedy, this book is funny; as a memoir, this book is only mediocre (disclaimer: it doesn’t help that I read this after I read Michael J. Fox’s GREAT memoir Lucky Man).
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