A WOMAN TRAPPED IN A WOMAN’S BODY

(TALES FROM A LIFE OF CRINGE)

If Sedaris were a heterosexual woman, he might well be Weedman.

Sincerely funny stuff from a welcome new original voice on the humor-literature scene.

Best known for her stint as a correspondent on The Daily Show, Weedman is a prolific multimedia performer/comedienne: NPR commentator, playwright, performance artist, regular on Comedy Central’s Reno 911! In her debut collection of autobiographical essays, the author proves to be an undeniable charmer and self-deprecator extraordinaire, seemingly proud to depict herself as a goofball and unashamed to walk us though one awkward incident after another. Her attempts to make Daily Show host Jon Stewart her “new boyfriend”—joking with him about African-American male genitalia, faux-seductively pinching her own nipples for his pleasure—are, fortunately for Weedman’s then-husband Michael, met with fright and/or confusion. And then there’s her trip to the Emmy Awards with her Daily Show pals, the highlight of which was a self-administered enema. Weedman’s essays work for the same reason David Sedaris’ do: She has heart. Though told with a tinge of comedic self-flagellation, the story of her marriage’s end game is filled with sincere pathos, as is the tale of her first post-divorce fling with a warm, turkey jerky–bearing gentleman named David. And though the topic of awkward adolescences is overused, Weedman’s depiction of her pot-soaked Indiana high-school years is effective in part because of its brevity. The author made an interesting choice by structuring the book in reverse chronological order, but that turned out to be a canny move—she grabs readers immediately with the stories of her celebrity encounters.

If Sedaris were a heterosexual woman, he might well be Weedman.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-57061-501-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

Categories:

NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Categories:

TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Categories:
Close Quickview