Laugh-out-loud debut fiction by a four-time Emmy winner and humorist (Merrill Markoe’s Guide to Love, 1997, etc.).
An art teacher writes annual reports on her birthday so she won’t be condemned to repeat her screwed-up life. Her entries run from thirty f**king six to fortymmmmppphhh. There is no way she can avoid her ghastly parents, a mother who makes her cringe in restaurants (“ . . . maybe the waiters and waitresses will think I am [Dad’s] child by a previous marriage”), and a father who gives excruciatingly detailed orders to busboys (“Listen to me carefully so I don’t have to eat my lunch soaking wet . . . . If you don’t hold that pitcher with two hands how the hell do you expect to get any directional stability when you pour?”). “So these were my parents, the people put on earth to judge me, to advise me, to correct me, to mold me in their image.” Each birthday the teacher’s painfully boorish ex-boyfriend Carl sends her an oversized birthday bouquet of seasonal flowers—and each birthday she has high hopes that this year the dumb girl in her will finally die. Can she stay out of the Hole where divorcées and singles in the their late 30s and beyond sit whining to each other that they haven’t had sex in four years? She has really, really, really bad sex with a guy in her acting class who has no idea at all where anything is on a woman. “If he wired a car the same way he made love, the windows would open and close when he pressed on the accelerator.” For her thirty f**king eighth birthday, her parents take her out. When Dad triumphantly spots a 72-cent error in the bill, calls the waiter, then the manager, Mother swells, as proud of her man as if he’d pulled her from a burning building.
Classy stuff that deserves tons of flowers from dazed and satisfied readers.