l's Reviews > Take the Cannoli

Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell
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Jan 14, 09

Read in January, 2009

I have heard wonderful things about Sarah Vowell, and I thought she would be great because she was funny on Gigantic, that documentary about They Might Be Giants. I’ve never heard her on This American Life, but Ira Glass and This American Life are great, so I bet she is, too. But I didn’t like her book. I must admit, toward the end I left huge chunks unread. I’d, like, get to a boring chapter and think “aw, hell no. Next!” and I’d start reading the next one and pretty much be equally disappointed.

I was excited for about ten seconds when I saw the chapter that started “I am standing on Disney World’s Main Street, U.S.A…” but ended up just getting pissed. Of course, she must explain how it’s a TOTAL ACCIDENT that she ended up there (because she is actually above Disney World), makes fun of pretty much everything (like, the fact that the waiters dressed in Revolutionary War-Era clothes have to wear black sneakers? Who gives a shit?) Honestly, I have witnessed it all. There is plenty to make fun of in Disney World, but Vowell instead seemed appalled by the least controversial things. She also claims that on Tom Sawyer’s Island someone scrawled “Fuck Off Nazis” on one of the walls and I feel like flying there right now to prove her wrong. They unleash an army of janitors the moment the park closes every night to unstick discarded gum, and scrub and pick up trash from every square inch of the park. There is absolutely no way there is graffiti of any kind. I have never seen it. She ends by taking a trip to Celebration, Florida and making fun of that. Too easy. Who goes to Celebration for fun, anyway? (Despite its name, it is not a party town and everyone who is there knows it’s not trying to be entertaining. It’s basically a retirement community.)

All I could think of is “thank God I don’t have to go to Disney world with you, or anywhere for that matter.” In fact, Vowell came off as pretty pretentious and un-fun throughout the entire book. She is predictably nerdy – it is almost painful how stereotypical it all is. I read a lot of reviews that praised the book after I gave up reading it, so I picked it up and said “okay, Lauren, let’s try again!” But honestly, it was too excruciating and I thought why am I doing this and I started reading a new book, that I am really actually enjoying.

Maybe I should have tried harder, and maybe, as a Disney nerd, I was farrrrrrr too offended about the unjustifiable Disney stabs. That might have ruined the entire book for me. So please, someone who has read it that is NOT a Disney nerd: is she right, is this book okay? Did the Disney stuff (and all the other stuff) entertain you?
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