HOW TO WEEP IN PUBLIC by Jacqueline Novak


Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows
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A comedian's humorous take on depression.

Beginning with babyhood and progressing through to a semimature adulthood, stand-up comic Novak whacks depression left and right, giving it a steady beating as she wallows in her own depressive state. "This book is your chance to lean into your depression,” she writes, “to firm up the depressed habits you already possess, while adding a wonderful array of freshly disturbing, unpleasant symptoms and behaviors to your repertoire—a richer variety of grays to your already gray landscape." The author leads by example, digging deeply into her own depressed life and laying bare various bits of personal trivia, problems, and issues that definitely pinpoint her as a "depresso." Novak relates such childhood stories as refusing to produce a urine sample for the doctor or how upset she was when she could no longer hunt for Easter eggs. She discusses how her one-night stands and drug usage helped her get through college, how a healthy relationship was beyond her control, and how she managed to survive a job in a corporate world, where she mastered avoidance techniques that she continues to use. Taken in small doses, Novak's tongue-in-cheek bantering is funny; read too much, however, and you'll feel overloaded, as the single refrain of depression becomes excessive and overworked. Bathroom humor also is prevalent, and the author divulges too many details about the colonics she used to combat her belly fat. For those seeking quick hits of depressive humor, Novak provides ample lists pinpointing a variety of topics: top nine birthday presents for the child depressive-in-training, ways to avoid charming your therapist, and top four tips for crying in a restaurant.

Best read in short spurts with a stiff drink in hand, this book is an amusing look at depression that could inspire a depressed person to rejoin society.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-8041-3970-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Three Rivers/Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2016


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