Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Humor
Where I Got It: Audible
Why I Read It: I wanted a light funny listen … plus I’m a fan of The Office
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Brief Description: Probably best known for playing Kelly Kapoor on The Office, Mindy Kaling is also one of the writers for the show. In this humorous memoir, she talks about her life growing up, her experiences as a female comedy writer, working on The Office, dating and general girl talk.
My Thoughts: This was a fun and pleasant listen. Kaling narrates the book herself, and she has a girly conversational speaking voice that makes you feel like you’re having a long lunch with a good girlfriend who scored an awesome job. She’s down-to-earth and frank about herself. She endeared herself to me by talking about her issues with weight and dating dilemmas. I thought the best part of the book was when she talked about growing up as the child of immigrant parents, which gave her a work ethic and drive that probably played no small part in where she is today. Although she dishes a little bit about The Office, there is nothing too juicy. It is a fun and fluffy listen, and perfect when you’re looking for an audio to keep you company while doing something unpleasant (like exercising or housework). Still, there isn’t much to it so if it is going to cost you a lot of money to purchase it, you might want to take a pass.
The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper Publisher: Bantam, 2005
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Where I Got It: Paperback Swap
Why I Read It: After loving This Is Where I Leave You, I vowed to read more of Tropper’s book. This makes good on that vow
My Rating: 4 stars
Brief Description: Joe Goffman left his small Connecticut town of Bush Falls after high school and never went back—except in his creative life when he wrote a novel called Bush Falls that is a thinly disguised account of his life growing up in the town. The book was a bestseller and was made into a movie. It also pissed off a lot of people in Bush Falls who didn’t appreciate the way that Joe depicted them. Now Joe’s father is on his death bed, and Joe must return to the Bush Falls and face the consequences of his book, his abandonment of the people he left behind and the choices he made in the past. He’s also forced to confront the writer’s block he’s faced since Bush Falls was published.
My Thoughts: I’ve been wanting to read another Tropper book ever since falling in love with This Is Where I Leave You. Although I didn’t think The Book of Joe was as strong as This Is Where I Leave You, it deals with many of the same themes: loss of a parent, reconciling with the past, family dysfunction and regret. Tropper is a master of putting his protagnoists in horrible uncomfortable situations and having them twist and turn (often very amusingly) until they are able to grow and mature and finally deal with all the crap they’ve ignored for too long. I enjoy how Tropper is really writing tragedies but gives them a comedic edge that keeps you laughing. It is difficult to straddle this line, but Tropper does it skillfully. I’m definitely going to continue reading his books.
Everything Is Wrong With Me by Jason Mulgrew Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2010
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Where I Got It: Downloaded it from Amazon for my Kindle
Why I Read It: It was on sale (Thank God!)
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Brief Description: A memoir of the author’s life growing up in South Philadelphia, though it seemed to be just as much about his dad’s exploits.
My Thoughts: The main reason I was attracted to this memoir was because of the Philadelphia setting, which is located just 30 minutes from my current home and where I grew up. (Although I’m not a South Philly girl by any stretch of the imagination.) Apart from a bit of an insight into being in the Mummers (a South Philly tradition), this memoir just didn’t do much for me. The author recalls various exploits of him and his father (much involved drinking too much and doing stupid things), and this just didn’t interest me all that much. In addition, I thought the author often tried too hard to be funny and it fell flat. Unless you’re interested in the area or the idea of drunken boyish exploits interest you, I’d take a pass.
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