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MY WIFE IS ALWAYS RIGHT

THE EUROPEAN MAN'S GUIDE TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE

Amusing essays about love, sex, and marriage.

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A Slovenian humorist explores the ups and downs of romance in this collection of essays.

“Women,” Kesar writes, “almost certainly inadvertently crush our fragile egos. And we men drag that pain, like a ball and chain, from relationship to relationship in an endless tangle of utter disaster.” Rife with self-deprecating stories, from being allergic to a girlfriend’s perfume that made him sneeze during intimate moments to dealing with an ill-timed delay in the shipment of an engagement ring, the author offers readers real-life, comic examples of romance gone wrong. Now married with children, he also provides a tongue-in-cheek guidebook for marital bliss, most of which circles back to the titular refrain, “My Wife Is Always Right.” Divided into three parts, the book delivers 63 short essays that present witty vignettes about Kesar’s romantic misadventures. Part 1 centers on his dating life before marriage, including one essay about his disdain for lingerie as an unnecessary “frilly, lacy barrier between two people getting to know each other.” Part 2 focuses on the author’s engagement to his wife, their wedding, and “The Honeymoon that Involved Neither Honey nor the Moon.” The volume’s final section (“Life Together”) examines the ubiquitous story of fiery lovers whose relationship after marriage must adapt to routines, work schedules, and child rearing. Still, Kesar and his wife still manage to keep the flame lit, despite the author’s romantic stumbles and prickly facial stubble. The work concludes with a description of “The Four Secrets to a Happy Marriage,” which blends sincere insights (have common interests and “make compromises”) with humor. Originally published in Slovenian, the book features Charney’s English translation, which holds up well in maintaining the nuances of Kesar’s jokes. While the volume’s European sensibilities, from its open approach to sex to weekend jaunts to Barcelona, may not always resonate with American audiences, its focus on marriage will have a wide appeal. Although often genuinely funny, the work leans heavily on the tropes of sex-obsessed men and their begrudging wives that will have limited resonance for readers who reject heteronormative relationships and traditional gender roles.

Amusing essays about love, sex, and marriage.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 9789619502495

Page Count: 202

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2022

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A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

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The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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