Witty, mildly raunchy memoir of a precociously perceptive child who grows into a smart and smart-mouthed adolescent.
Comedian Thyre (Late Night with Conan O’Brien; Strangers with Candy) uses caricature and exaggeration to create a funny picture of growing up in the 1970s and ’80s. At first, she’s part of a middle-class Catholic family with a quick-tempered, blue-collar father and an environmentally correct mother, but when her parents divorce, the Thyres slip down a notch or two on the economic scale. To keep up appearances, her resourceful mother resorts to reattaching the same Lacoste alligator to garment after cheap garment. Thyre derives much humor from bodily functions, writing about vomit, asthma attacks, the contents of her sibling’s diapers and feminine-hygiene products. Her youthful explorations of pornography and the mental and physical shortcomings of others provide further grist for her humor mill. She has a sharp ear for dialogue and a keen eye for the slights and cruelties that children and adolescents blithely inflict on each other and on the adults around them. Her wit turns what might, in other hands, have been a self-pitying memoir into a bright, amusing story. When shit happens—her father is disappointingly indifferent to her needs, the family vacation ends disastrously—Thyre doesn’t bemoan the situation. Rather, she reports it with zest and a twist of wry.
Chick-lit with zingers.