The TV and stage actress turns the messes of her life into fodder for this winning essay collection.
Weedman (A Woman Trapped in a Woman's Body: (Tales from a Life of Cringe), 2007) describes her theatrical career as "walking around traumatized every five minutes and making a two-hour show about it." Throughout her latest book, she remains ruthlessly self-deprecating—“maybe I was the hero [of her stories], but I was so opposed to coming off as the hero that I exaggerated myself into an abusive idiot for laughs”—and consistently funny. She tells how she once imprudently moved into "a quaint little month-to-month studio that seemed artsy because it had a shared bathroom ‘like an artists' commune,’ but the place turned out to be an SRO that house[d] mostly male ex-convicts.” Of her triumphant high school years, she breezily writes, “I was just a teen with a weight problem who loved a man with chiseled cheekbones and a caustic wit. A simple midwestern gal who loved her gay choir teacher.” Other accounts—about miserable boyfriends and her meetings with her glib and caustic birth mother—elicit cringes, but they are simply landmarks that lead to the heart of the book. Weedman tones down the humor when she discusses her attempts at a lifestyle that has eluded her. She keenly feels like "a middle-aged white lady from L.A.”—no more so than when a young bartender dryly commented on how she looked "very dolled up" for what she intended to be an exciting night on the town in a new city. The author projects a mood of low-key resignation, reflecting on the spectrum of adulthood, from the 20s to the 40s, and she sneakily plants seeds of melancholy and wisdom amid the laughs.
An intelligent, hilarious, and bittersweet collection.