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Why I'm Like This: True Stories
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Why I'm Like This: True Stories

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,805 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
Cynthia Kaplan takes us on a hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking journey through her unique, uncensored world—her bungled romantic encounters and unsung theatrical experiences; her gadget-obsessed father, her pill-popping therapist, and her eccentric grandmothers; her fearless husband, whom she engages in an ongoing battle over which of them is the most popular person in ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jun 22, 2007 rated it did not like it
Not to be harsh, but this book sounds like a bunch of random emails that I might have written, then edited, and bound into a book. I'm not a good writer. I'm sure this is someone's style to enjoy, but I actually got mad at myself for taking this book along to read instead of something more enjoyable.
Cyndi Davis
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved, loved, loved this book!! It was so freakin' funny! Cynthia Kaplan was able to articulate the internal dialogue you have in your head - that you would never say out loud to anyone else in fear that they would think you are nuts - in such a hysterical way! The whole time I was reading this book I was thinking to myself, "Oh my gosh! She is reading my mind!" I really enjoyed this read! I recommend it highly.
Nancy Rossman
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I'd probably give it 3.5 because much did hit home. Her honest voice, self-effacing sense of humor, poignant recollections of grandparents (especially grandma and her purse), and the telling of many childhood traumas that only years later are funny but weren't at the time. I enjoyed the read a great deal. As others have noted, it did not hit a knee slapping funny bone but I smiled a lot and nodded agreement as if, "Yep, I've been to that concert."

Cynthia's socially mixed teen years (Christian/Je
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: beach-reads
Funny book. The first chapter hooked me......heck, the first paragraph hooked me. Excerpt: "There was always one girld at camp whom everyone hated. It had nothing to do with cliques or teams or personal dislikes, and it was not even that everyone had discussed it an a consensus had been raised based upon certain irrefutable evidence. It was just like everyone hated lima beans and the color brown..." Then, the author introduces us to the girl inparticular that everyone hated and describes her lik ...more
Kari Mathias
Jan 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. I don't say that about many things, but it's true with this one.

Kaplan is a footnote in her own stories. She floats around in the midst of other people far more interesting than she is, trying to be "funny" by airing the dirty laundry of others. Some of the people she writes about can;t have possibly given her the permission to do so, and I can only imagine how they'll feel if they happen to read this.

The very first story in the book made me lose respect for the author rig
Jan 24, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2008 added it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes peeks into others' lives.
The USA Today review on the back cover says, "Knee-slapping hilarious!" I don't think so. While the author is eccentric and sometimes funny, she is not knee-slapping funny. In that sense, the book is overrated.

It's a collection of personal (sometimes painfully so) essays. They are well-written and seem honest. But I am not sucked into the book, dying to find out what happens next. I want to finish the book just to be able to say I've finished it, not because I find it deeply interesting.
Nov 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who think they are "normal" because they have been really privileged
i have written several reviews now that address my distaste for memoirs of so-called "normal" lives (which is to say, white middle-class american, no interludes of homelessness or drug abuse or anything unseemly), due to the way they don't unpack the concept that "normality" is actually pretty abnormal. this is abother book that fits into that category. the fact that i don't remember a single thing about it should illustrate the reality of its tediousness. the end.
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was fun, cute, and even a little thought-provoking. The author bravely shares her natural, quirky and humorously realistic voice. The stories are nothing earth-shattering, just small observances of those moments that, on the surface are insignificant but, in truth, stay with us and make us who we are. A quick, fun read that will have you appreciating your own gloriously awkward self.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was excited to read this book at first, but then the disappointment quickly set it. The stories don't go anywhere and are not funny or interesting in the slightest. It's also disturbingly thin with large print plus double-spacing to boot. It's almost like a high school creative writing assignment gone wrong that somehow got published.
AJ LeBlanc
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Great read - at times funny and heartbreaking. I love hearing what goes on inside other people's heads, especially when you realize you're not the only crazy one out there. This is a well written glance at Kaplan's life, with quick snapshots from when she's a little girl all the way until she becomes a mom herself. I really enjoyed it.
Ann Fisher
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Let me be clear, this is light reading, not great literature that will live with you forever. But predictably funny and unexpectedly moving. Kaplan writes with great honesty and generosity about her own foibles and those of her nearest and dearest. The chapter about her father the gadget king could hold its own in any anthology.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
okay so honestly, this book was toilsome. i found it on the paperback spinny rack at the library and upon checkout, i was told, "oh it looks like this was deaccessioned. it's a free book now." i should have taken that as a sign. according to the back, usa today found the book to be "knee-slapping hilarious" but honestly i did not even find it to be smile-crackingly humorous. i relegated this book to a poop-read in the bathroom and it actually made me spend less time on the toilet (unlike other b ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
With a tone that comes off as merely whiny, and little evidence of humor or humorous writing, this book is a definite miss. Either nothing amusing has ever happened to her, or she does not know how to write. It's a shame Kaplan did make a closer study of the writing of her 'hero' James Thurber, who was a man who knew how to tell a story. Life does not hand you a better story than a therapist who needs therapy, and even this lone gem could have benefited from better storytelling. Skip this book a ...more
Cindy Kirkland
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the first time I did not read the reviews before I read the book. This is more of a collection of small snippets in the authors life/mind. Parts were funny, parts were not, some parts were truly heartwarming. It was an easy read. I gave it three stars because there is not a 2.5 option.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This wasn't as hilarious as the blurb promised but I quite enjoy memoirs made up of personal essays, even when some of them focus on the mundane aspects of someone else's life.
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meh...not a tough read but, forgettable.
Rachel Dows
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nothing earth-shattering but well worth a read. Interesting and quirky yet relatable. Easy to keep reading.
Kelly Gau
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Essay writing.. why is this the second book I have picked up with this format? I don't even know the author as an actor.. had to google her. Anyways.. this is a fun fast read. My book club would like it.. and it would spur some fun conversations about how we all missed out on growing up going to an all summer camp when we were growing up. Entertaining for sure.. prolly will forget every word though. ;)
Marti Soler Wynia
May 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I tried to give this book a fair chance, but just didn’t find it funny at all. Quit halfway through. Not my humor I guess.
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
It was going to be a bit of a crazy week; and I knew this going into week 15. So, I took some time to find what I hoped would be a perfect book to serve as a welcome distraction to all the Have-to, Must-do, Can-you-also, and We-really-need-you-to responsibilities of the week. When I saw USA Today's "Knee-slapping hilarious." on the back of WHY I'M LIKE THIS: TRUE STORIES by Cynthia Kaplan, I was sold.

WHY I'M LIKE THIS chronicles milestone moments in Kaplan's life that have shaped her into the wo
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
So this book was at the Gay Library in a bunch of gifts and I searched for any GLBT content and seeing none and seeing the stellar reviews and blurbs ("like David Sedaris... only a woman!") I brought it home to continue the short-humorous-essay kick I'm now suddenly on.

What is *Cynthia Kaplan* on? How is is that she's drilled into my brain?

How is it that me: ur-Catholic, male, gay, practically mid-westerner was speared in the heart by a Jewish, female, straight, mom from the greater New York ar
I thought perhaps this was a famous person, maybe, a sort of female Stephen Tobolosky? It wasn't anyone I'd heard of before, but I thought, they have a book detailing their life, I liked the title, I liked the picture.

The first story was funny, about the camp girl, well till it took a turn for the statutory rape. Then it wasn't so funny. Then it got very boring and very uninteresting.

I kept wondering what the point of this book was. I assumed there was some sort of supply and demand that caused
Tracy Byrnes
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book about five years ago and it is the reason I started writing again. Oh, I remember thinking, books can be insightful AND smart AND funny! Why didn't I already know this? Probably because I was a student then and thought that good writing was when old Russians told about war.

Not that it isn't, but this is better because it's so much fun. You'll remember it years after the pop quiz. One essay, about the author's grandmother, still chokes me up when I think of its last line. A
Mercini Lazaridis
Nov 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
I found this book incredibly boring. It is well written in the technical sense however the subject matter is not interesting at all. The only mildly interesting chapter was that of her grandmother's experience with Alzheimer's. I found myself tuning out and skimming over pages waiting for something interesting but... nothing. This woman is basically telling us stories of her life but - without meaning to be nasty - her life isn't particularly interesting. It certainly does not warrant publishing ...more
Apr 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
I am convinced the four and five stars for this book had to be from friends and relatives. Laugh out loud funny?? Knee slapping hilarious?? Was I reading the same book? I kept reading out of boredom but if I had anything else with me I would have ended at chapter one just based on how poorly this was written. Each chapter is basically a short story, but within those few pages she jumps around so much it is like a conversation with someone that keeps forgetting details and has to jump back and fo ...more
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who like to laugh
I was at DiBo and Tricia's place for Sunday Dinner and I was looking through Tricia's bookcase to see what she had to read and I came across this book with an interesting title (I always judge a book by it's cover and title) Why I'm Like This and I was immediately interested, especially since it was true stories (I'm sorta a memoir and essay junkie). I can't say that I picked it up right away, but I put it in my work bag, just in case I was inspired to read while on the train or while on lunch ( ...more
Wendy Williams
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This was the best book I've read in a long time!! It was not only entertaining but touching as well. Cynthia is an outstanding writer and easily captured and was able to keep my attention throughout the entire book (which is quite an accomplishment due to my short attention span lol). I, of course, love her humor but I also enjoyed the stories she wrote about her mother dying of cancer. I normally don't like sad, heart-wrenching stories but she was able to convey the stories in a fun and lighthe ...more
Jocelynne Broderick
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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