EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL by Beth Lisick

EVERYBODY INTO THE POOL

True Tales

KIRKUS REVIEW

California performance artist Lisick offers bright, funny takes on her square upbringing in Sunnyvale during the 1970s and 1980s, her adult life in San Francisco’s 1990s counterculture and beyond.

A weekly columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Web site, the author presents herself as “too weird to fit into the mainstream world, the one I came from . . . too normal for the fringe world I found later.” She highlights the contrast between normal childhood and freaked-out adulthood in her account of an annual ladies’ luncheon and Christmas gift exchange at which she appears first as an eager child waitress in 1976, then, in 1991, as a disheveled invitee with a hangover and bad hair bringing a poorly wrapped, last-minute gift. Lisick uses her uneasy stint as a homecoming princess and her appalling first date with a popular jock to create an entertaining glimpse of her high school years. Later, she’s at UC Santa Cruz stuffing $20 bills into her black bustier at a Catholic charities raffle because she needs money for an abortion. It’s darkly funny, and there’s more to come. After college, Lisick travels with an all-female punk-rock troupe named Sister Spit and explores her sexuality with a female construction worker named Trouble. Then, while living with her boyfriend in a San Francisco warehouse that’s flooded by broken sewer pipes, she is forced to move her possessions out in a beat-up shopping cart. When she eventually buys a house in Berkeley, it’s in a rundown, garbage-strewn neighborhood known as Brokely. Such personal disasters, small and large, are the stuff of these memoirs, providing her with the material for her sharp observations and self-deprecation. The final piece finds her a bemused new mother, coping with a drooling and crusty-headed baby boy who’s clad all wrong in pink and yellow. Exaggeration in the interest of a good story is no sin, and Lisick is above all an accomplished storyteller.

Light, flippant and savvy.

Pub Date: July 5th, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-077877-6
Page count: 240pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2005