Melanie Mendenhall's Reviews > Hair of the Corn Dog

Hair of the Corn Dog by A.K. Turner
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All Joy AND Fun!

Living in Boise, Idaho, is great (most of the time), particularly because it’s a well-known secret that Boise has a hoppin’ literary scene. Brilliant and world-class writers have converged on this little city, and we love it! One of our talented writers, A.K. Turner, is out with her latest memoir about family life, Hair of the Corn Dog. It’s smart and honest and full of fun, though the writer/main character is not always enjoying herself.

Early on, Turner recounts the first float trip that she takes with her daughters, Emilia aged six and Ivy aged four, down the Boise River. Turner explains that her husband, Mike, paddled the raft while she “spent the entire trip holding both kids, who were firmly secured in lifejackets, in a vice-like grip to allay my fear of them falling out of the boat.

‘Is that comfortable, Amanda?’ Mike asked, knowing it wasn’t.
‘I’m fine,’ I said.
‘But are you having fun? This is supposed to be fun.’
‘I am having fun.’
‘You look uncomfortable and miserable.’
‘This is my fun face.’
Ivy looked up at me and said, ‘You look mean, Mama.’
‘Yeah, Mom.’ Emilia squirmed. ‘You’re hurting me. Can’t I just touch the water?’
‘No!’ ”

A self-described stickler for rules of all kinds, Turner sometimes has to balance her propensity toward “bitchiness” with an understanding that the rules occasionally (frequently?) get in the way of experiencing new things and enjoying life as much as possible.

Turner’s skills as a writer make the book a fun and quick read. She has an eye for the weird and a knack for finding humor in ordinary life. Whether she’s walking her daughters to school with mother-in-law in tow or spending a night out at “Humpin’ Hannah’s” with her husband and a friend, Turner (mostly) has a good deal of fun because she knows how to laugh at herself and other people.

There’s been a lot of buzz about a new book by Jennifer Senior titled All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting. Unlike Senior’s, Turner’s book is not a sociological study on marriage and parenting nor a guide on how to navigate these often tricky projects. However, her vignettes on family life demonstrate an ability to live a joyful and fun-filled life with kids, spouse, and in-laws (living part-time in the basement!). And even though I learned way more about the backseat of one particular Boise taxicab than I ever wanted to know, as a reader, I still felt lucky to go along on that cab ride with Turner and her crew.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 27, 2014 – Finished Reading
March 2, 2014 – Shelved

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