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After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter
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After a While You Just Get Used to It: A Tale of Family Clutter

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  364 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A vibrant new voice ups the self-deprecating memoir ante with tragicomic tales of her dysfunctional life in swampland Florida and America’s Big Easy
A dive bar palm reader who calls herself the Disco Queen Taiwan; a slumlord with a penis-of-the-day LISTSERV; and Betty, the middle-aged Tales of the Cocktail volunteer who soils her pants on a party bus and is dealt with in t
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Avery
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Average rating 3.32  · 
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Heidi The Reader
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
Sometimes poignant, other times appalling memoir by Gwendolyn (Wendy) Knapp that describes her dysfunctional family, drama filled relationships, and quest to find a job as a struggling writer in New Orleans. The poverty level and drug addicted aunt described in After a While You Just Get Used to It really reminded me of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis except that instead of in Appalachia, Gwendolyn describes a childhood in Florida. I suppose that some struggles are un ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Disclosure: I received this for free through a Goodreads' First Reads giveaway.


Love the accounts of the author's extremely dysfunctional family, as well as her own struggles being single/in relationships. The author, Gwendolyn Knapp, comes across as likable and is able to poke fun at herself and her upbringing, without being annoying. (There is a certain type of memoir writer that recalls his or her dysfunctional upbringing in such a way that makes me want to punch them through the pa
Jill Furedy
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Not what I thought. Not as funny as I hoped. A lot of it was kind of sad, actually. I was hoping by the end, we'd see the author becoming a writer or finding some form of of herself other than as he narrator of her family's mishaps while not much happens to her. She was in bands, but we didn't see it, she was in relationships but we only see the destruction parts, she sells cheese and teaches but she only mentions those in passing. I never got to know her. The book blurb mentioned all these quir ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the currently tres chic unimaginable-childhood-in-white-trash- redneck,-southern-cracker genre Ms. Knapp writes frankly about her hoarder mother and stepfather, her irritable bowel syndrome (i, personally don’t find poop stories particularly funny, but hey - not far from the tree and all that) her dating disasters, and lots of family vignettes. Playing substantial roles in all of these precious moments are serious substance abuse, epidemic edentulousness, and gratuitous violence and cruelty. ...more
Sarah Hay
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked this up when I found it shelved in the wrong section and was intrigued by the squirrel on the cover. The author mentioned something about collecting squirrels at one point, but that was all, I figured there would be more to warrant one on the cover.
This is an intriguing look at the authors life but it doesn't really go any where. She chronicles her life with her mom, a hoarder, a drug addicted aunt, her sister, and a cast of extended family from childhood to midlife. Not a lot happens,
Kim H.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Do you secretly watch reality television shows about hoarders or people with bizarre eating habits so that you can feel better about your own living space or eating habits? Have you ever attended a support group and thought to yourself, "Well, I may have this problem, but at least I'm not as bad as THAT person!"? If so, Gwendolyn Knapp's memoir, After a While You Just Get Used To It is the book for you!

Less Cousin Eddy (from the Vacation series of films) and more the feeling of TMI (too much inf
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2017
This is more than a tale of family clutter; so honest, it is often embarrassing. But how better to deal with awkward situations than with humor? A story of a "messed-up" family yet somehow love comes through.

Favorite quote from book on Page 67:
Like Mom, her sister enjoyed the meditative quality of resentment as it pressure-cooked you from the inside out.

Those who read Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance might like to read this memoir.
Tom M.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Knapp had what you might call something of a southern white trash upbringing. Raised by a hoarder of a mother in a tiny Florida town with lots of relatives all on the same block, where feuds and huge family parties were often one in the same, it was quite the 80s childhood. Her sister, older by several years, goes Goth, gets a job at the local burger joint to save money and get outta town.

Knapp, like all of the teenagers in that town, longs to do the same. Somehow, inexplicably, most seem to re
Jameson Fink
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Humor combines with unvarnished personal and familial stories--delivered with non-mawkish affection--to produce these original, memoir-esque tales. Disparate topics such as IBS, cyber-cheating, and hoarding are delivered via Knapp's unique voice. It's not easy to speak about members of your family so deeply, honestly, and critically without losing any (or all) of a reader's sympathy There's underlying heart in not explaining away why people are they way they are. It's very genuine and refreshing ...more
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a book that didn't need to be written. I really didn't care about the author's irritable bowel syndrome and a number of other maladies and gross habits that her friends and family exhibit in these pages. It is like a celebration of the redneck Honey Boo Boo lifestyle put to memoir form. Sometimes when I read a memoir there is a voyeuristic attraction but so here. I just wanted to leave them to their drinking, clutter and dysfunctional behavior and go back to my family's unremarkable lif ...more
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Picked up the book and laughed my way through to end in one sitting! A weird and wonderful memoir growing up with a hoarder and a group of very unusual family members. Along the way the author learns to appreciate her life and its unusual-ness! Definitely should be on your to read list for the summer.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hilarious, but brutally honest. Loved it. "Most parents would probably want their children to get a job in high school and experience a taste of the real world, but not Mom. A lifelong graduate student, she'd always been adamantly against working." ...more
Becky Aubrey
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. She describes her family and friends, and her life in a very entertaining way. I hope she keeps updating her life as she lives it.
Suzanne LaPierre
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pandemic-reads
This is the first book I both started and finished during the "stay at home" edict. It's a light read, a humorous memoir about a Florida family that is nutty in a way most families are, more or less. Wendy and Molly grow up with their Mom and her boyfriend John, who met in architecture school, in a cluttered house with a lovably kooky extended family nearby. They have their troubles but nothing to deepen your depression during the pandemic. Knapp uses clever, colorful language and avoids cliches ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Eh. I didn't really like this all that much. A family tale of cluttter -- I was expecting more of a story about hoarders -- and while that is part of this -- it's also about all the other levels and layers of dysfunction of her family. Self deprecating and humorous, but also sad. Mom is a mess, sister is pissed, aunts are junkies. There is stuff and clutter, but there is also scabies and staph infections, alcoholism and drug addition. A bit hard to read at times actually (scenarios, not the writ ...more
Victoria Grace
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shoutout to the Little Free Library in the parking lot of the North Raleigh community center for thrusting this book upon me. I read it at the same time that I was listening to Hannah Hart's Buffering and they were weirdly complementary-- Gross, funny, painfully relatable, but often disjointed, and I think this one came off worse in comparison. Still, some great, profoundly specific insights about dating shitty dudes, loving your shitty family, no AC in the south, the gifts given by your older s ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been watching "Florida Girls" this summer on PopTV. Since the season ended, I've been missing the show. Gwendolyn Knapp's memoir of her hilarious and horrifying family fills the gap left by Jayla, Kaitlin, Shelby and Erica nicely. Each chapter could be an episode.

Cringey and entertaining: Gwendolyn's horrible boyfriends. At first I wondered if they were really that bad, but of course it's more than possible.

My favorite chapter: Knapp's struggles with IBS. I laughed, I cried & I had to make
Erin Clark
I really enjoyed writer Gwendoline Knapps memoir. It is smart, funny, sad and a little bit ugly but also very, very honest. The poor girl does not have the best luck, cheating boyfriends, drug addict relatives, irritable bowel syndrome, marginal jobs, etc. She just grits her teeth and bears it, she doesn't complain about the rough hand she's been dealt, she owns it. She's got gumption and I like that. I would love to read a sequel to this novel in another five or ten years. I want to see where h ...more
Dec 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really well written and funny. Love the honesty and overall acceptance of her family. Glad to read an alternative perspective that didn't force her relatives into changing. But this doesn't mean the author didn't struggle with negative feelings. That she presented them openly and with reflection and self-insight is refreshing. ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting story about her bumpkin family and their filthy house, full of garbage! A delightful "hoarded" description. And funny, dry/sarcastic asides. But once the author moved to New Orleans, the story didn't really go anywhere!? ...more
Michelle Rosenau
Sep 16, 2022 rated it liked it
Parts of this book had me laughing, a lot made me cringe and the clutter part hits too close to home. Married to a pack rat that never wants to get rid of anything contributes to our clutter although we're not as bad as this...yet. ...more
Carole Knoles
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gwendolyn Knapp’s very funny book was the perfect medicine for me during a a miserable bout of a holiday case of flu.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
loved this book.
Nancy H
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was okay. I think I expected a clear-cut resolution to everyone's problems, but that didn't happen so I was a little disappointed. I did enjoy the funny and ironic moments, though. ...more
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Notable chapter: The Great Give and Take
J.S. Colley
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

After A While You Just Get Used To It is a memoir. The narrative focuses on the author’s years growing up in Florida and, later, on her great escape to The Big Easy. But she doesn’t escape for long. Her pack rat mom, with all her baggage—physical and mental—soon follows.

What can I say about this book? It’s funny. It’s raw. It’s heartbreaking. It’s real. It’s honest. It’s GROSS! At times it makes you squirm.

And I can relate.

Like Gwendolyn (Wendy) Knapp, I spent
Julie G
Jul 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's a certain brand of memoir that I feel like I've read too much of lately. It's a woman approximately my age who can't seem to grow up and get settled - she spends the entire book drinking, sleeping with everyone, and has little to no self-esteem (like Lena Dunham or Alida Nugent). And it's supposed to be super funny. I am so happy to say that this is NOT one of those memoirs. Knapp struggles and dates the wrong guy and messes up, but she's also working hard on her life and on being
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I was grabbed by the title of this memoir. Yes, the mom is a hoarder of sorts, but it seems like “family clutter” refers more to the clutter of people than things. Reading this book was like watching an accident in slow motion: you know what’s going to happen, that it’s not going to be good, but you can’t stop watching. And if the first part of the title, “you just get used it” is true, then I really feel sorry for the author. In truth, she does have a clutter of problems, and I don’t believe sh ...more
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