Thursday, August 23, 2007

Why I'm Like This

Praise for Why I'm Like This by Cynthia Kaplan:
"Striking a note somewhere between David Sedaris and Anna Quindlen, Kaplan spins traumas personal and professional for maximum laughs..." --People

A blend of David Sedaris and Anna Quindlen? Two of my favorites...SOLD! (You want to know what a blend of Sedaris and Quindlen sounds like, and by proxy what Kaplan sounds like? Mother Reader. Check out her Tinkerbell post and her tooth fairy post and then read Kaplan and tell me if I'm not right.)

Kaplan's new book,
Leave the Building Quickly was the one that originally caught my eye in the new nonfiction display at the Tattered Cover in Denver, but you might know how I am about reading books in order. I had to buy and read Why I'm Like This first. I will be buying Leave The Building Quickly as soon as I'm in a bookstore again.

I'm only about halfway through Why I'm Like This, but it gave me the first cosmic reading event of the summer. I was reading it on the plane on the way home from a "Care For An Elderly Parent" trip. Only recently have I begun to be able to consistently act like an adult when I'm back home with my mom. I've finally figured out how not to revert automatically back to a surly 13 year-old. In the nick of time, I might add. So I've just had a stressful, but successful week, and I read this:
"One of the hardest things about growing up is how one day it suddenly dawns on you that your parents are human. It hadn't occurred to you before. Why should it have? But then something happens, some thing happens, and the veil drops...These are just moments, really, blips on the parental screen, during which they reveal their humanity, and that they are in the world, flailing about as helplessly as everyone else, everyone who is not your parents. Blowing it. Surviving. Hanging on by their nails. That they are at once more spectacularly resourceful and more deeply flawed than you might have ever imagined inspires both scorn and admiration, two emotions you'd always reserved for nonrelatives. But, happily, between the blips, they are just the same as they have always been...and you breathe a sigh of relief. It is too painful for them to be human."

(I know, that's not a particularly Sedaris/Quindlen/MR-sounding quote, but it was my cosmic reading event. Go get the book, either one, and read some whole essays. See if you can read them without snorting, smirking, guffawing, or having one of your own cosmic reading events.)


  1. Anonymous8:32 PM

    Mary Lee, isn't it a wonderful book! I just loved it. I heard her read at the library--she's originally from one town over--and she's funny and personable. I'm looking forward to the new one.

    Everybody, do what Mary Lee says and read this one!

  2. How wonderful that I sound like a published author! That means there's hope for me yet! Looking forward to reading this book.

  3. Mary Lee-
    I had goosebumps after reading your cosmic event...can't wait to find time to read this book! It sounds like your trip was successful. I've been thinking about you. Thanks for sharing your find and thoughts!


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