Psycho Babble by Billie Jean Diersen

Psycho Babble

The Rants, Raves & Riffs of an Uncommon Blonde
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of essays by a U.S. Marine Corps wife explores a wide range of topics, from Star Trek to the family cat.

This book comprises 46 short essays, written in the “exasperated housewife” tone popularized by newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck, whom Diersen (Thinner Skin, 2014, etc.) cites in the essay “I Heart John-Boy” as one of her favorite authors. Previously published on Diersen’s online blog, the essays are divided into six sections. “On Children and Parenting” and “On Marriage and Relationships” contain stories from the author’s life as the wife of a Marine officer (referred to in the text only as “the Jarhead”) and the mother of two grown children, dubbed El Noblé and Princess Primrose. Other sections, like “Obsessions, Confessions, and Possessions” and “On Politics and Culture,” explore Diersen’s thoughts on such varied topics as favorite commercials, the emotional issues of the family cat, and gay marriage. In almost every case, the author employs a light, even glib, narrative style to deliver a sincere and thoughtful message. For example, “My Sci-Fi Fantasy,” which enumerates the five items of Star Trek technology she “wouldn’t mind having,” ends poignantly by placing at the top of the list Dr. McCoy’s cure for kidney disease so that she could alleviate her aunt’s need for dialysis. Similarly, “Pot Luck” expands a humorous account of a Georgia police raid on an okra farm they mistakenly believe is growing marijuana into a brief analysis of unjust drug seizure laws. Readers may tire of Diersen’s relentlessly perky tone, and there are some instances of dark humor that risk becoming alienating, such as in “The Limits of Togetherness,” in which she speculates on the ways her husband might murder her, given half a chance. But the majority of the essays are personable and entertaining, and Diersen concludes with two examples of her fiction, a short story and a novel excerpt, that pique the reader’s interest in her other works, including the novels Unmatched (2012) and Thinner Skin.

Engaging, if slightly superficial, essays on modern life from the perspective of a military spouse and mother.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-692-56055-6
Page count: 228pp
Publisher: Blue Gentian Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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