Saturday, October 22, 2011

How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day

How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day Ann Hodgman

This memoir is basically made up of short, funny essays about all the embarrassing things Hodgman did as a young girl in the 60s. Nothing crazy or over-the-top, just the basic every day embarrassing things that kids are still doing today and getting embarrassed about.

It took me a while to get into it, even though I loved Hodgman's voice throughout. It grew on me. It's not over the top ROFL funny, but I did chuckle out loud on several occasions. I also share her righteous indignation over the ropes unit in gym class-- she's right! How the #$%#$^ do they expect you to climb a rope by "trying really hard." They should totally work on conditioning and training for it! Yeesh. Also, I'm with her-- I hope they don't do this anymore. Not just because it sucks, but climbing a rope to the top of a gym with only a mat underneath you sounds like a major safety hazard. (In general, I find society way too overprotective about stuff like this, but if it ends the rope unit in gym, I'm all over it. I own my hypocrisy.)

A lot of it reads like "let me tell you about all the stupid stuff I did when I grew up in the stone age." It's straightforward, blunt, sarcastic, and very enjoyable. My main question though is will it be as enjoyable to kids? Or just to adults? While Hodgman clearly remembers her thoughts and feelings as a kid, I'm not sure she's telling them anything they don't already know-- superballs are awesome, the rope unit isn't, teachers can be wrong, a kid who corrects other people's grammar is annoying.

I liked the design-- lots of pictures scattered throughout of her growing up and of her family members and friends, as well as other things mentioned in the text. The short-essay style also makes it easy to read and as Hodgman says in her introduction, you don't have to read the chapters in order.

Some of my friends actually enjoyed flipping themselves around, though. My two-houses-down-the-street friends, Robin, loved it. She also loved doing cartwheels, which I've never been able to learn and never will. (Okay, maybe if I practiced for ten years, but I won't do that.) We'd be sitting on the lawn talking, and suddenly Robin would jump up and do a bunch of backflips. I've never been happier than the time she started to cartwheel, threw her landing hand to the ground, yelped, and collapsed. "I put my hand into dog doo!" she shrieked.

That's what should happen to everyone who suddenly does a cartwheel.

Book Provided by... my local library

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