...and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation
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Comedian and musician Hill delivers a moderately amusing memoir in this collection of comic essays.

The narrative lacks any sort of outsize hook. The author’s tenure on the lower rungs of show business is without scandal, his suburban upbringing seems to have been largely free from trauma and his work and romantic histories are fairly mundane. This leaves Hill’s voice as the sole point of interest, and the author’s wryness is engaging in small doses, but over the long haul the relentless self-deprecation and undercutting of dramatic expectations are wearying. Hill writes about his adolescent hockey career, his time in various rock bands, frustrations with family and girlfriends and other picayune subjects with an unvarying, low-watt comedic rhythm. The pieces are well-observed and deftly rendered, but they never build to anything greater than a good anecdote or a handful of clever lines; they lack strangeness and surprise, the bracingly fresh perspective of an essay by David Sedaris or Jonathan Ames. Hill is a thoroughly conventional “dude,” and, while a fairly witty one, his stories and presentation lack a distinctive flavor. The most memorable pieces deal with his struggle with depression, which he describes with admirable clarity, and an account of his stint working at a homeless shelter, which is enlivened by vividly outrageous characters and an insider’s look at the practical aspects of administrating at an institution that will be unfamiliar to most.

Largely pleasant and forgettable, an agreeable-enough diversion lacking in lasting impact.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-250-00203-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2012


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