Thomas Holbrook's Reviews > I Know I Am, But What Are You?

I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee
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M 50x66
's review
Oct 10, 2011

liked it

I enjoy reading memoirs. Learning of how others “live life” is part of my “DNA,” at least professionally (that and I am just nosey) and reading this genre is an invitation for me to do so while enjoying my hobby. I also subscribe to the understanding that “all writing is autobiographical” so I read any book with an “eye” toward what the author is revealing about her/himself. When a writer speaks of various life events, beginning when she was a small child and continuing to the present day but chooses to do so through a collection of “random” essays, how can such a book be considered anything other than a memoir? This collection of stories from Ms. Bee’s life qualifies as a memoir even if it is not advertised as such.
Samantha Bee is “Senior Correspondent” on the Daily Show, “having systematically eliminated all those before her” (according to the dust jacket). Her essays gathered to make up this volume are not credited as to their original placement but wherever that was, she had to have a forum that allowed: a) her to post lengthy, seemingly rambling, articles and b) was of sufficient restriction to permit some very adult language. Her talent for starting at one point, drifting to an apparent disconnected memory or observation then bringing all the strings together and ending the entry having tidily joined all the parts into a coherent whole is to be noted. Such ability is a gift that has been developed to a point of subtleness and Ms. Bee’s humor is hilariously subtle.
Apart from she being the common denominator, the essay’s themselves are not driving toward a point at the book’s end. There is not a “point” to any of the essays and all are generously salted with humorous turns of phrase. My favorite chapter, whose title is that of a Freudian theory of behavior, and deals with an apparent attempt by the universe for Ms. Bee to be the center of as many “incidental,” intentional, unexpected exposures of the male genitalia as possible. She is not graphic in her descriptions, nor is she profane in the telling, she is relating her bewilderment at her being the source of such “envy.”
Overall, I would rather hear Ms. Bee’s “reports” live when as she sits opposite John Stewart than read her writing. While she is funny in these articles, there is an “oral” quality to her work that demands it be heard rather than read. I do not expect this book to be made into a movie, nor for it to win any awards. I hope Ms. Bee continues to speak boldly in her job as “Senior Correspondent” for years to come, I like her mind.

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Reading Progress

October 10, 2011 – Started Reading
October 10, 2011 – Shelved
October 10, 2011 –
page 68
28.1% "THIS is a funny book."
October 14, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 22, 2011 –
page 239

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