Jillette (God, No!, 2011, etc.) nails holidays with sarcasm and sensibility.
When the author’s opening chapter skewers the Christmas classic “Joy to the World” as a schlocky, joyless yuletide anthem, readers will recognize who and what they’re reading. What follows are chapters of mixed-focus essays; some are rambling, some are supremely anecdotal, and others acerbically mock Christian beliefs and steamroll religious politicians. Jillette allows readers a glimpse into his personal life with side chapters on a Houdini-influenced upbringing in Massachusetts, a quirky bath-taking obsession in his 20s, the rise of Penn & Teller from high school buddies to internationally popular stage magicians, and some rather bloated narration about an extortion attempt. Additionally, there’s insider commentary of his time on The Celebrity Apprentice (“junior high with a better brand of acne cover up”), an in-depth discussion on his atheistic orientation, lessons learned from an acrimonious interview with Piers Morgan and thoughtful ruminations on gay rights and his two children. Jillette is strongest when poking fun at his own foibles and in a touching, posthumous nod to friendships with author Christopher Hitchens and rock drummer Tommy Ardolino. As an unrepentant nonbeliever in organized religion, Jillette’s message may come off as snide and profane, but to the open-minded, his words are funny, dignified and make perfect sense.
An outspoken wordsmith offers more intelligent, humorous and against-the-grain perspectives.