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Wherever You Go, There They Are: Stories about My Family You Might Relate to
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Wherever You Go, There They Are: Stories about My Family You Might Relate to

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  301 ratings  ·  76 reviews
A hysterically funny and slyly insightful new collection of essays fromNew York Timesbestselling author Annabelle Gurwitch, about her own family of scam artists and hucksters, as well as the sisterhoods, temporary tribes, communities, and cults who have become surrogates along the way.
When Annabelle Gurwitch was a child, surrounded by a cast of epically dysfunctional rel
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Blue Rider Press
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3.27  · 
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 ·  301 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Theresa Alan
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I love humorous essays, and this collection of tales of her weird/dysfunctional family doesn’t disappoint.

She has a colorful father who could spin a yarn and a mother who laments the life she doesn’t have to the one she settled on. Her mother “didn’t realize she was marrying into a family of bootleggers, gamblers, and fabulists.” She had children because she thought she had to, but “My mother has never made it a secret that she doesn’t really like children.”

The tales weave between Gurtwich’s ch
I didn't relate to this quite as much as I thought I would, but I still enjoyed reading it. I think fans of Annabelle Gurwitch will love it. I was looking forward to reading stories about her family, but many of the essays are more about her "tribes" and community than her biological family. They are about friends who embraced her growing up, in the theatre community, in a new-age-y kind of cult, summer camp, the Jewish community, the atheist community, and her parents retirement community. Most ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaway
Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read this book in advance.

I had a hard time with this book. It made me unofficially vow to stop reading autobiographies of people I've never heard of, because this is the second time in a row I've been disappointed, but I know I'll keep on.

I don't know if it was my frame of mind at the time, but I read the first 20 or so pages and was just utterly confused to the point of annoyance. I couldn't understand why this woman was acting so nuts and lyi
Jenny Houle
Why did I keep reading?

The answer is because clearly, I'm a bit masochistic. I have a strong opinion that while the occasional footnote is appropriate, if you use too many, you need to edit what you are writing. Gurwitch doesn't just use them a little too much; on each page of the book there was at least one, if not two of three.
Realistically, I also couldn't relate to much of her stories, which only made it more difficult to continue reading.
Melanie Johnson
Apr 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A quirky, funny bunch of essays that are easily read and enjoyed. As a Southern Belle, I had a great laugh reading the story about when she went down to Mobile, AL to hang out with her Southern family. I also loved the stories about people that make their pets more important than their children. Thanks to First to Read for the chance to read this!
Kellie Williams
Mar 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Gurwitch comes from an eccentric family and has had some interesting experiences. Not quite laugh-out-loud funny, but interesting. However, the last few chapters about her parents adjusting to an assisted living facility are hilarious! Her dad, "Handsome Harry" is a flawed man in his youth, but those flaws become an endearing quality as an aged man. Gurwitch takes some uncomfortable topics in her life and adds just enough humor that we can all try to relate.
May 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I tried, but I can't get into this book. It's possible I'm just not in the mood for it right now, but I couldn't even make it to page 30.
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: firsttoread-com
Have you had a parent who withheld the fact that you inherited part of an island until that island is getting pummeled by a hurricane? Do you have ancestors who supplied sugar to moonshiners or who ran a brothel? Have you ever told your son that the cat is actually his younger sister whose cat costume zipper got stuck and then overgrown with hair? If you have, then you must be Annabelle Gurwitch. 

The actor, writer, comedian, and former cohost of TBS's Dinner and Movie is back with a book of pers
Amber Garabrandt
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.... I am so sorry I am late. 
       Annabelle's back with her sly wit and sassy ways to tell us all about her family of scam artists, as well as the sundry sisterhoods, tribes, cults and communities that have been as dear.  We have adorable (and hilarious) stories about pet people, Dad's big money making ideas, and Annabelle's dreams of being adopted into a "normal" family along with many more.
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book manages to be both hilarious and incredibly touching. I loved the way Gurwitch writes so insightfully about so many kinds of families. I've read several of Gurwitch's books at this point and she's always so funny and intelligent and original, and this book is no exception. Highly recommended.
Alyssa Nelson
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Gurwitch has certainly had an interesting life. The stories in this book mostly focus on family and her experiences with trying to become an actress. I very much enjoyed when she talked about being non-religious in a Jewish family and how she still keeps some rituals, because they’re just so ingrained into her. I also thought the stories she writes about her aging parents are at once heart
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lori by: GoodReads
This book is so funny. I like the anecdotal style and the stories are interesting. I find that I am nodding my head in agreement at some of the observations. The book also gives me more insight into who Annabelle is, which I think is an accomplishment as it is not her first book - I like learning new things. It is also quite current and I think other people will really relate to it. After all, no matter who they are and how wacky or "normal" they may be, we all have families.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this book feels like chatting over coffee and cake with a new acquaintance and walking away with a friend who overshares in the funniest way possible.
A collection of essays on her life and family, it feels a bit random at times but helped foster the conversational feel of the book. Like any good conversation, it rambles somewhat and repeats itself a couple of times while keeping a light tone overall. Even when the topic is something as heavy as parental aging and sickness.
It's not laugh
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection of essays about Annabelle's family. It was really interesting hearing about how she grew up, and the unusual characters in her family. This was just the right mix of fun and touching.
amanda eve
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

I'm not sure if it was the poorly formatted e-galley or if it's the book itself, but this memoir is incredibly disjointed. I really enjoyed her essays about her parents and extended family and think the book would have been infinitely better if she'd stuck to this singular theme.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book with a sense of humor. One everyone can relate to.
Chris Rutledge
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Big fan of hers ever since TBS' Dinner and a Movie
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gurwitch tells the colorful, sad and funny stories that make our own families seem more normal. It was all amusing for the first 11 chapters...who doesn't love a book where you find yourself laughing out loud, cringing or smiling as the storyteller helps you to conjure up your own memories. The final chapter, detailing the experience of assisting her aging parents will resonate deeply with others going through a similar process - Annabelle takes what can be a sad and somber time and makes it pai ...more
Scott S.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"I see my folks, they're getting old
and I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me
and it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself
it's what we all go through
those lines are pretty hard to take
when they're staring back at you
. . . scared to run out of time"

As I neared the end of Gurwitch's book I was reminded of Bonnie Raitt's lyrics from Nick of Time as well as the phrase "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family."

Although there are a fair amount
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Billed as humor, I expected ha, ha funny when I began reading, so at first I was a tad disappointed. However, as the book progressed I realized it's less about the author's family specifically and more about the struggles all families share as they eek out survival in an often cruel world. The author simply frames these common themes in stories about her family.

Additionally, this is a book with an environmental and social justice ethic. As the family decide what to do with their land on Dolphin
Bee Joy España
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I tend to feel stingy about my five star reviews, and I’m not entirely sure why. I was about to give this one four, but quickly realized that’s ridiculous. I loved this book. I will be trying to remember the wonderfully sarcastic ways she worded things, and the hilariously sweet tales from her childhood. I would read this again, which I almost never say, and — as she says on the cover — I completely related. I’m a biracial woman who was raised conservative Christian, with a rich family history i ...more
Ellen Pilch
Jul 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
I did not finish reading this book. I found the first few chapters slow and plodding with a lack of humor. Then I got to the chapter where the author writes of her lack of caring about people's pets. She doesn't like it on Facebook when people are mourning their pets that have passed away or ask for prayers when they are ill. All I could think is that she is a jerk. She also writes about Grumpy Cat and says he has a genetic abnormality. Clearly she didn't check her facts and her editor didn't ei ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I can relate a bit to some of her tales of family and friends. It's amazing how many communities we find ourselves part of as we grow up and older. I didn't get into the book as much as I had hoped, but every individual is different. It's not that I didn't enjoy it, it was a lark, but just didn't relate as much as I thought I might have. Every family, I think, is dysfunctional in it's own way. Maybe another reader will relate to it more. It's well written and had humorous moments, but not enough ...more
Moreen Murray
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Perhaps because she is my age I was particularly interested in reading this memoir - it is true that you might relate to the stories!. I also saw her recently on Bill Maher's show. Her stories are wryly amusing from the world of a theatre geek, her eccentric Southern Jewish family, getting swept into a MLM cosmetics world by being a "sister" and dealing with her aging parents. Although her family is at times exasperating you can tell she is coming from a place of love...I like her writing voice. ...more
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: r-pfr
The story of Wherever You Go, There They Are by Annabelle Gurwitch is really more like wherever you go and whatever you do, they may or may not be there, but the legacy of them that you carry within you will always be. They, of course, are your family. The overall tone of the essays is conversational, making the book an easy and quick read. As is the case in all collections, some essays appeal to me more than others.

Read my complete review at

Reviewed f
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the later chapters better than the earlier ones. I was particularly interested in the chapters about her parents older age. The beginning chapters talked a lot about acting and life in the theater, which I didn't care as much for. I felt like the author's voice got more authentic as the book went along. I will definitely read two more of her books, because I think she has good insights into life and aging.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
I did not enjoy this book. It did have some humor, I did laugh out loud, but the story line....wait, what story line? I found it confusing to keep times, places, people, stories, straight. She had SO many footnotes. The story was mostly about the author, not so much her family. I have no idea where she got the title, "they" weren't "there", they were all over. I read this for book club, some didn't finish it, I breezed through the last 25%. It was painful.
"Looking around, it dawns on me that we're not the next generation of the family: we're the elders now. Our parents are failing, if not dead already, and we will need to remember them to each other."

I received a copy of this ebook from in exchange for an honest review.

While the premise of this book intrigued me, I didn't love it like I expected to. I think my biggest problem is it felt like the essays were forced together without any kind of theme or narrative. One minute we're r
Linda Goodman
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was touching and very funny in parts. The author is an actress that I've never heard of who has a very interesting family. They are Jewish but since they were from Alabama, they ate shellfish. The chapters at the end were sad as she and her sister were trying to find a retirement home that would be acceptable to her parents but also affordable. Loved the chapter on MLM companies (multi-level marketing) which seem to be proliferating greatly these days.
Harvey Smith
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved this book, a first person narrative of Annabelle Gurwitch, how she was raised, her fairly crazy sounding family, and people she ran onto and had relationships with later that were very similar to how she grew up.

The point here is that all of our families are, for the most part, a little bit fairly crazy, and we continually bump into people in our lives that are similar to our own experiences, as that is the human condition.

Very entertaining, and insightful read.
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ANNABELLE GURWITCH grew up hoping that she was the long lost daughter of Joni Mitchell or the reincarnation of an Egyptian princess. Neither of those things turned out to be true. She is the author of The New York Times bestseller and Thurber Prize Finalist for Humor Writing 2015, I See You Made an Effort; You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up (co-written with husband Jeff Kahn); and Fired! which was also ...more