Posts Tagged ‘essays’

Fiascos and hilarity abound in ‘My Heart is an Idiot,’ Davy Rothbart’s collection of essays about life and love

March 22, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 22, 2017

Davy Rothbart, the Michigan-born writer and magazine editor, is like most people: Get some drink into him and he tends to develops the gift of gab. Also like most people, inebriation tends to lower Rothbart’s inhibitions and impair his judgments.

What sets Rothbart apart is his knack for getting into hilarious misadventures — often but not aways with a helpful nudge from spirits — and his ability to spin them into enjoyable stories. Happily for readers, he’s assembled some of his wackiest hijinks in My Heart is an Idiot, a 2012 collection of essays that documents some of his strangest exploits and describes some of the people he’s met during his various jaunts.

The book, which functions as a sort of haphazard memoir, begins with an amusing but largely ordinary childhood reminiscence. “Bigger and Deafer” details the mischief Rothbart and his brothers got into when Davy was inspired to mislead his deaf mother about the phone conversations for which they were serving as intermediaries. The best part about the story is the twists that take place on its final page.

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‘When You Are Engulfed in Flames’ presents the quirky sensibility of essayist David Sedaris

September 12, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 12, 2014

David Sedaris is a comic essayist whose most frequent subject is himself. Raised in Raleigh, N.C., by an alcoholic housewife and the son of Greek immigrants, Sedaris himself was an aimless drug-using alcoholic artist wannabe for years before developing a career as a popular writer.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Sedaris’s 2008 collection, is his sixth book, and it’s up to his usual standards. The various essays look at outrageous episodes from his childhood, adulthood and present life; often, the essays touch upon more than one of these periods.

A frequent trope is Sedaris as misfit. “Road Trips” describes some of his awkward early attempts to grapple with his homosexuality; “Buddy, Can You Spare a Tie?” is a catalog of the author’s sartorial follies; “Keeping Up” compares the discomfort he’s witnessed among foreigners visiting Paris (where he’s lived for some time) with his own misadventures as a tourist with his boyfriend, Hugh.

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