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Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  2,118 ratings  ·  296 reviews
Maeve Higgins was a bestselling memoirist and comedian in her native Ireland when, at the grand old age of thirty-one, she left the only home she’d ever known in search of something more. Like many women in their early thirties, she both was and was not the adult she wanted to be. At once smart, curious, and humane, Maeve in America is the story of how Maeve found herself, ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Penguin Books
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  2,118 ratings  ·  296 reviews

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3.5 stars

Thanks for Penguin Canada for an ARC of this book.

Interesting personal essays
From an Irish point of view
An alien in the USA
Maeve is a comedian
Those essays take about:

Her travels
Her fear of dolphins
Her Instagram addiction
Failed love
Obsession with Michael Fassbender
Dogs and pets
USA and trump
Complimenting women
Renting fancy dresses
Summer in NYC

Good shit I tell you
Sarah Baenen
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is really two books. One that lectures (gently, logically, and with compassion... but still a lecture) about the state of affairs in the world today. And one that self-deprecatingly examines the author's life. Separately, there's nothing wrong with either, but together, it just doesn't work. The personal bits paint a portrait of a smart, witty, educated, observant, independent woman, but I got turned off by the pages of op-ed style writing. I don't disagree with anything she says, but ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't relate to a lot in the collections of women's essays the publishing industry churns out these days--they are all too slang-y, too victim-y, too New Age-y, too bitter, too stupid or all of the above--but I loved this one. The author, an Irish comedian and podcaster who now lives in New York, does write about some of the same topics (body image, dating, and family among them) as other essayists, but her take on these topics is funny, original and intelligent. Of the constant battle she fig ...more
Maeve Higgin's collection of essays initially read like Bridget Jones comes to America, as she offers humorous self-deprecating anecdotes of her own immigration to New York City from Cobh, Ireland. Rent-a-dress, money woes, small talk and swimming and loathing with dolphins, get the Higgins treatment. But as we know, life is not all fun and comedy sketches, and Higgins' pieces on Dreamers, leaving home, mentoring and our place in the universe are thoughtful and poignant.

I was not familiar with M
Gabriela Pop
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Such a fun collection of essays and a fantastic audiobook! Maeve skillfully mixes emotional, powerful moments and social commentary with some good ol' comedy and personal anecdotes. While I definitely expected this to be as funny as it was, the deeper bits took me a little bit by surprise. Higgins explores themes of immigration and social injustice, different levels of privilege, womanhood and so on. Her storytelling is highly engaging and she most certainly has a gift with words. One of th
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I was fortunate enough to win this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. My thanks to the sponsor and to Goodreads for facilitating this giveaway.

The series of essays in "Maeve in America" - penned by Irish comedian Maeve Higgins - was a bit difficult for me to synthesize into one main idea/takeaway. While some of the stories I definitely enjoyed and found humorous, others seemed to build to a crescendo that never materialized. I often found myself asking questions like, "so what?" and "why is this
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more, but it just didn’t happen. It was like being set up and told how much I’m going to like this person: they’re funny with that Irish sense of humor you love so, and charming, etc. We just didn’t click. Some of the essays were far too long, others felt more like a therapy session, and the tone was inconsistent ( odd given that it’s non fiction).

I saw the author speak and was intrigued despite it being a mediocre appearance. I chalked it up to a terrible interviewer.
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will confess that I had never heard of Maeve Higgins prior to writing this book. I am glad that I gave it a chance, though, because Higgins is hilarious and I'm looking forward to seeking out more of her work in whatever form it might take. She's self-deprecating in a charming way, very Irish, and extremely thoughtful - the essay about her attempts to make her podcast about immigrants into something comedic is frustrating (because you want to throttle her producers) and beautiful all at once. ...more
Mike Hallinan
A series of interesting and funny observational pieces, this book is a quick and enjoyable read. I would suggest pairing with the audiobook: Maeve's tone and inflection add a lot to these pieces. ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.25-4.5 - insightful, funny, but not just "a bit". relatable, and also thought-provoking. ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it
First, the good. "Stormy with Calm Eyes" was hilarious, poignant, pretty and perfect. If I made a collection of perfect essays, this would be included in it.

I also really enjoyed "Swimming Against Dolphins" (just because it was really funny) and "Summer Isn't The Same Without You" (a brave and personal piece about her struggles with body image). Most of the other essays were easy reads that did no harm and were good for a few head nods and chuckles and aptly missed humor and deeper subjects.

Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, humor, memoir
The fact that Maeve Higgins is a stand up comic made me assume this essay collection would be a bit more "laugh out loud" but I really appreciated how unvarnished her stories were. "Wildflowers" in particular was so moving. The only thing that bugged me a bit about these essays was the fact that each one seemed to end like a term paper, with a neat paragraph that seemed to shout "get ready - this is the conclusion!" ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this up while in NYC at the Strand because it was signed and I loved the review "If Tiny Fey and David Sedaris had a daughter..."

I was belly laughing by page 2, and really enjoyed laughing at the entire thing. Maeve is thoughtful and smart, and observes her experience being Irish in America.

Everyone needs to laugh. This is a particularly good way to get it done.
Donna Hines
Self care, self love, self appreciation and awareness. Throw in some humor. Throw in some soul searching while on a journey to who knows and well you got this one wrapped.
I loved everything about this. The writing was simplistic yet packed full of fun, love, excitement.
A collection of essays much like Coming to America in which this Irish gal is trying to make her way in NYC as a newly planted immigrant.
It's not all comedy show style though as the discussions center upon some serious aspects inc
From stories of swimming with dolphins to interviewing undocumented immigrants Maeve Higgins' essays manage to be not only hilarious, but thoughtful and poignant. Listening to her voice narrate the audiobook (which I highly recommend if audiobooks are your thing), there were times when I laughed out loud, like during her essay on singledom and dating where she writes: "Stepping onto the dating field makes me feel like a discus thrower, and the discus is my self-esteem."

There were also times tha
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, humour, essays
These fifteen essays from Irish-born, New York-based comedian Maeve Higgins explore immigration, friendship, family, and belonging. Gently humourous rather than laugh-out-loud funny, Higgins is at her strongest when tackling the absurdities of trying to code-shift between cultures as an emigrant who still travels home (and oh, she's so right about Americans and small talk). Very readable in the "nice chat with a friend from back home" mode. ...more
Douglas Rowe
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would be delighted to meet Maeve Higgins someday. She has learned some lovely and encouraging lessons about herself, life, love and family that take others much longer into their lives to learn if they ever learn them at all. Her stories are interesting, accessible and delightful with a real positive energy that makes this an uplifting read.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This collection of essays follows Irish transplant Maeve Higgins as she navigates Rent the Runway, dating in New York, hanging out in Prospect Park, and growing up away from her family. She's witty and self deprecating, but I appreciated her best of all when she got serious - about running a comedy workshop in Iraq, about telling immigrant stories after the election. ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would say a 3.5 for this book. I listened to the audiobook and Maeve reads it herself. Maeve does a good job. Every time Maeve is on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, I know I am in for a laugh. I expected the book to be funnier. It was still good and talks about immigration in a powerful way. ...more
Megan Hawley Steinfeld
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would desperately like to read a book that is nothing but Maeve Higgins using extended metaphors to describe, well, anything. She’s a metaphor wizard/genius(/evil genius depending on your feelings about metaphors, I guess).
Sep 20, 2018 marked it as could-not-finish
I just couldn't get into these stories. I found a few interesting but some of the others just fell flat for me. ...more
Nancy Martira
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Maeve's essays are no less substantive for their humor and charm. Some of the essays - about finding yourself in New York City, accepting your body, aloneness vs. loneliness and the fierceness of Aunties - are achingly relatable. ...more
Caitlin Peters
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Equal parts hilarious and devastating, Maeve gives her thoughtful perspective on immigration, politics and culture both in America and abroad. Maeve always leaves you wanting more!
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mum-s-bookclub
some essays definitely stood out more than others, would recommend specific chapters to people but not the whole thing
Becca Dzombak
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not just funny, but heartwarming and thought-provoking. Just what I'm looking for in an essay collection. ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really appreciated these essays. Although I'm sure the author is a talented comedian, what I found in this book are thoughtful pieces about introspection, our bodies, social media, romance, immigration, and more. I will look forward to reading her future articles and books. ...more
The author is a good writer and comes off as quite likable, but the tales told here make dishwater seem exciting.
Jan 06, 2019 marked it as abandoned
I am too old and too midwestern for this.
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I love Maeve on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Her comedy didn’t translate as well into this book. Still love her.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 but rounding up ;) 3, for me, is a standard good book, 4 is a book you’ll get something out of, and 5 is a book that stays with you. If you enjoy Maeve Higgins, read the book
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