Snarky Southern humor essayist and columnist skewers everything from yoga to marriage to eyelashes.
Rivenbark (You Can’t Drink All Day If You Don’t Start in the Morning, 2009, etc.) has made punchy contemporary commentary her livelihood since her first collection of humor columns was published over a decade ago. Here, the author stays true to her classic comic chatter, delivering many witty and clever observations, along with plenty of overly goofy and slightly contrived duds. Sure to elicit hearty chuckles and knowing nods, Rivenbark shares lighthearted ruminations on a variety of commonplace issues and situations, many centered on fads (the “Snuggie”), health claims (dietary fiber) and the happenstance of modern life. The author hesitantly dips her feet into the yoga exercise revolution by taking a wobbly instructional class, but seems more relieved “to be somewhere for a whole hour without anybody being able to find me and ask me to do some shit for them.” She drolly posits on how much everyday life has become enhanced by personal technology but is irked by everyone’s “self-serving messages” on Twitter—unless, of course, it’s her own tweets “telling my followers that it’s time to ante up for the new book.” Some of Rivenbark’s best moments are her most self-deprecating. An attempt to coerce David Sedaris into writing a blurb (and her opinion of him when he declines) is priceless, as are descriptions of life on a book tour, bemoaning the enthusiasm of shopping-mall salespeople or how she suffers through the melodrama of Real Housewives (“middle school all over again”). The author seems genuine enough when discussing the biased kind of love pet owners bestow on dogs versus cats, but her biting satire on politics and airport security may push her trademarked irreverence overboard for more sensitive readers.
Open-minded fans of the crass one-liner will find much to savor, while many readers will discover that a little Rivenbark goes a long way.