Giese manages to showcase the love, practicality, and failures of her parents and grandparents without becoming overly sentimental or cruel. She occasionally strays into more serious stories, including sharing a neighborly curiosity that becomes a friendship with a young girl battling a medical condition that limits her ability to go out and make friends. Giese recounts these anecdotes with honesty and welcome flashes of wisdom, and many will feel relatable to readers, possibly as slightly more comic–even melodramatic–versions of incidents in their own lives. Even the Magic Wand story builds to an insight about not feeling shame in yourself and owning your own narrative: “Ownership means we’re in charge of choosing how we’re going to behave and how we’re going to feel,” she notes.
Sharing the stories is where Giese really shines, although the book as a whole might resonate with more power if the stories had been told in chronological order or if some were developed in greater depth. At times, the connections between the comic storytelling and the life lessons can be tenuous, as when an incident with her mother, the family car, and her father’s feet being in an unfortunate spot gets connected to thoughts on accepting people for who they are and not expecting them to change to meet your expectations. Still, these comic anecdotes of the author’s adventures and mishaps will have readers laughing, nodding, and commiserating.
Takeaway: These brash comic anecdotes offer laughs and insight from the perspective of a woman unafraid to be herself.
Great for fans of: Ali Wong’s Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life, Laurie Notaro’s I Love Everybody.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"Giese's prose is chatty and wry, with the cadence of a practiced storyteller. ...She rarely ends (her) antecdotes at the punchline but rather uses them to get at the deeper issues behind the humor. ...Giese's inviting tone and willingness to laugh at herself make for a carthatic read. An...often entertaining mix of humor, memoir, and self-help."