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Essays & Observations

by Jill Kargman illustrated by Jill Kargman

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-200719-3
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

A New York City–based author, mother of three and cancer survivor delivers an outspoken mix of sass and sensibility.

Magazine feature writer and novelist Kargman (The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund, 2009, etc.) truly believes that laughter is the best medicine and, at 36, is happy to share her self-deprecating brand of wisdom. She explains why baked goods, texting and the smell of gasoline are so personally enticing, as opposed to the repulsive qualities of vans, mimes (“I’m so talkative that the mute thing alone wigs me out”), Don Henley and the wacky au pairs entrusted to babysit during her childhood. Life has been adventuresome so far, Kargman admits, from her days as an outcast at a Connecticut boarding school to the irate, micromanaging boss at a pop-culture magazine who aimed a tape dispenser at her head. But her self-doubts pale in comparison to the confusion and humility experienced after being diagnosed with skin cancer at 35. There’s also tenderness in the unexpected blind date (arranged by her grandmother Ruth) with a “beyond-adorable, scruffy nugget” named Harry who would become her husband and the father of her children. Some laughs pop with snappy sarcasm while others veer into racy, stand-up comedienne material like sections on Jewish Passover Seders and a midlife crisis–inspired tattoo and handgun license. These over-the-top moments are leavened with more focused playfulness, as when the author writes of her solidarity with gay men, the agony of natural childbirth (“having a bowling ball cruise through a straw”), her disenchantment with office work or, after the birth of her first daughter, the co-mingling sessions with “a breed of hypercompetitive type-A mothers” known as “Momzillas.” Cute, rudimentary line drawings pepper a narrative that will incite nods of agreement as Kargman writes that “the ones who live the best obviously aren’t the ones with the most money or most successful careers; they’re the ones who laugh the most.”

A smart, pocket-sized delight that artfully engages the funny bone.