Annabelle Gurwitch
Essayist, funny lady, and actress Annabelle Gurwitch talks to Kirkus Reviews about her new book of zingy essays, I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50.


KIRKUS REVIEW

 

A compendium of lighthearted, of-the-moment essays that address the many ups and downs of life at 50.

The former co-host of Dinner and a Movie on TBS, humorist Gurwitch (co-author: You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story, 2010, etc.) opens her new collection by lamenting the onslaught of AARP solicitations (“At a glance, I thought it might be an ad for white-collar prison uniforms”) that began showing up on her 49th birthday. On almost every page, she demonstrates a dogged commitment to elevating seemingly normal, even mundane happenings, such as buying moisturizer at the mall, and other encounters with people who include her husband, writer Jeff Kahn, and female friends, into situational comedies, frequently offering jokes at her own expense. Gurwitch makes for a highly likable, albeit sometimes-crass narrator who is willing to lay all of her cards on the table for the sake of entertainment. Infused with levity, confessions of her fears about getting older mostly relate to the way she looks and the lengths to which she's willing to go to fight gravity. Her neuroses show up in abundance—e.g., a monologue questioning whether or not washing fruit before eating it may lead to her death. “Pesticides are undoubtedly eating away at my insides this very minute, though statistically speaking, I will probably be bumped off by a teenage driver texting What’s up?" These obsessive, superficial fears tap into similar threads running through most glossy women's magazines. Having written for many such magazines, including Glamour and More, Gurwitch proves adept at attempting to address and soften readers' shared concerns about their own age-related changes in appearance with her aggressively personal (some R-rated) deadpan admissions (“In the light of day, our living room couch looks depressed. Literally. That sofa has seen a lot of ass”).

Casual, zingy observations.


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