Book Review: “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee”

April 11th, 2017

(Originally published on Sunthing Special Facebook Page, March 21, 2017)

Now it’s time for Cari’s latest book review. 😉

Last week I finished comic Sarah Silverman’s “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee”. I posted yesterday about her video “Sell the Vatican, Feed the World” and mentioned that although I knew of her, I’d never seen her in anything so I wasn’t familiar with her.

With that in mind, I really liked her book. She had some pretty traumatizing things happen to her while growing up so you can see why she turned out like she did. For example, peeing herself at night, every night, until she was in her mid-teens. I can’t even imagine! Battling depression as a teen and taking 16 Xanax a DAY! Having one of her psychiatrists hang himself in his office while she was waiting for her appointment, again, still a teen.

I could relate to her in a lot of ways, except that she’s apparently obsessed with poop jokes and can be super vulgar. Also, she smokes a lot of pot.

However, there’s a part of the book where she talks about how she did a video in 2008 aimed at Jewish young people, who supported Barack Obama, asking them to go to Florida to get their grandparents to vote for Obama as well (“The Great Schlep”). She says she doesn’t know if Obama’s presidency will save the world (this was written in 2010) “but at least now when you travel internationally and people ask, you can say, ‘I’m from the United States,’ while looking straight into their eyes instead of at the laces of your Pumas.” With our current president, it’s back to looking at laces for me. 🙁

Book Review PREview: “Live Fast Die Hot”

April 11th, 2017

(Originally published on Sunthing Special Facebook page March 21, 2017)

A Cari book review PREview:

I relied on the “if you like that book, you’ll like this book” recommendation from Amazon and got the book “Live Fast Die Hot” by Jenny Mollen from the library. Apparently this is her second book of autobiographical essays, and I had no idea who she was. I started reading the book and she refers to herself as an actress, and to her husband Jason as a more successful actor, and after a couple chapters I’m like, “Who the heck is this person?” Well, I Wikipediad her and I never saw any of the TV shows or movies she was in or read any of her columns in “Playboy”. And even though I’d at least heard of Jason Biggs before, I’ve actually never seen him in anything. So I think it’s funny that she’s writing this book like everyone knows who they are … but obviously they don’t.

Book Review: “Live Fast Die Hot”

April 11th, 2017

(originally published on Sunthing Special Facebook page, March 22, 2017)

Ooh, another Cari Miller book review!

I just couldn’t finish Jenny Mollen’s “Live Fast Die Hot” book. (I mentioned in a post yesterday that she’s the actress I’d never heard of. Sorry for the dangling preposition.) She’s a very good writer, but for the most part I couldn’t relate. She mentions all these designer names of which I don’t know/don’t care. She’s proudly self-obsessed and goes on and on about her “problems” for pages — even chapters — at a time. I say “problems” because I’m like, uh, lady, you have no idea what real “problems” are. Plus, she’s one of those annoying women who’s in love with her child. I love my children very much, but I’m not “in love” with them. You know what I mean? I just got to the point of “Who cares?”

I skipped through to the end of the book and I guess the point of it was that she grew up with dysfunctional parents, especially feeling ignored and unloved by her mother, and so wanted to prove to her baby that she was worthy of his love. So she does all these crazy things to prove her bravery, etc. Like, going to Peru to do a hallucinogenic tea with her friend Chelsea Handler for a TV special. Um … okay …

Book Review: “I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections”

April 11th, 2017

(originally published on Sunthing Special Facebook March 28, 2017)

Time already for another Cari book review!

This one is Nora Ephron’s book, “I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections”. It was the last book she wrote, in 2010, before she died in 2012. It was bittersweet reading it, because she was such a talented writer and her death a definite loss. Ephron had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, and by the time she wrote this in 2010, she was definitely aware she didn’t have a lot of time left — though she doesn’t come out and say it (she kept her illness a secret from most everyone) — which made it even more poignant.

On an objective level, Ephron has a tendency to name designers and literary figures I’m not familiar with, but I forgive her because she’s Nora Ephron. And although in some spots I think she’s a bit self-indulgent, I forgive her because she’s Nora Ephron. Overall, worth reading … because she’s Nora Ephron.

So I didn’t realize that both her parents were famous writers, and she and her three sisters all became famous writers as well. I had not read any of her sister Delia’s work, and I got her book “Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.)” from the library the same time I got Nora’s book. Delia wrote this book about a year after her beloved sister died and the first chapter is about Nora. The thing is, her chapters are so long! I love Nora’s books because the chapters are generally short. I couldn’t get through it so I tried another chapter. Also quite wordy. I’m going to give it a third try when I have more patience. It’s not that she’s not a good writer … she’s just not Nora Ephron.

Book Review: Sister Mother Husband Dog (Etc.)

April 11th, 2017

(originally published on Sunthing Special Facebook Page, April 3, 2017)

Yet another Cari Miller book review. Think of it as a book club meeting in the privacy of your own home. I’ll wait while you pour yourself a drink and curl up in your favorite chair.

Today’s book is “Sister Mother Husband Dog (Etc.)” by Delia Ephron (Nora’s sister), which I mentioned last week that I had started reading but was having a hard time getting through.

So here’s the thing, it was good. BUT don’t read it right after you read a Nora Ephron book. You can’t help but compare the two — especially Delia’s wordiness and tendency to wander all over the place. I like short chapters, even two pages. Delia’s first chapter, “Losing Nora”, is 42 pages. And like most people who write personal essays, some topics are going to be more interesting to you than others. Like the one about dogs. And the chapter where most of it is about her favorite items at her favorite NY bakeries.

But there were a few things especially I wanted to mention. First, she was very close to her sister and they collaborated on a lot of movies and whatnot. However, in her first chapter about Nora, who was obviously the more famous and popular one, she mentions on pages 13 and 14 the quotes that people thought Nora had come up with, but that were actually hers (Delia’s). Interesting, don’t you think? Her point was they collaborated so much that they borrowed from each other all the time without being aware of it, but to me, it was more like she wanted to make sure she got credit for these words.

She also brought up an interesting point about how American society defines women’s success as “having it all” — marriage, children and career. (But not if you’re so poor that you need to work to support your family). She instead says “having it all” should define a moment, instead, like a good cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, watching a really good tennis match, or a three-hour lunch with a good friend. I agree with her on that.

Dream Jobs?

April 11th, 2017

(originally published on my Sunthing Special Facebook page, April 3, 2017)

Delia Ephron is an author and screenwriter, and in her book, “Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.)” she casually states that half of all people want to be screenwriters. I thought, “Um … no. Maybe half of those who grew up in LA and had parents who were screenwriters want that (like you).” I just found that so odd.

Then I was reading “I Killed”, a compilation of comics’ stories from being on the road, and one of the comics states that the three best jobs in the world are pro baseball player, pro drag racer and standup comic. Like that’s as much fact as half of all people wanting to be screenwriters.

It just made me think of how “dream jobs” really can’t be generalized — we don’t “all” want to be this or that. They are personal and unique to us. A lucky few ARE doing their dream jobs. The rest of us still dream, or quietly give up the dream.

Near the beginning of the movie “Zootopia”, little Judy Hopps tells everyone about her dream to be the first bunny police officer. Everyone tells her she can’t do it. At one point her dad tells her: “Ever wonder how your mom and me became so happy? We gave up on our dreams and settled. … That’s the beauty of complacency.” Then her parents add, “It’s great to have dreams, just so long as you don’t believe in them too much.” Judy goes on to become the first bunny police officer and the hero of Zootopia. But it is a fairy tale …

Book Review: “Sick in the Head”

April 11th, 2017

(originally published on Sunthing Special FB page, April 3, 2017)

I also got the book “Sick in the Head (Conversations About Life and Comedy)” by Judd Apatow from the library. Apatow is a very successful writer, director and producer and over 30 years he has interviewed other comedians which he recently released in a book (of which all the proceeds were being donated to organizations that provide free tutoring and literacy programs).

This is not a book I’m reading cover to cover. I find it tedious to read interview-style interviews, especially when more than two people are involved. I did skip around to read the interviews with some of the people I’m familiar with, but because I’ve read so many of their memoirs I already knew most of the stories they shared.

However, I was very intrigued and disturbed by the chapter with Roseanne Barr. I didn’t know much about her personally and I didn’t watch her hit show though of course I knew who she was. And oh my gosh, just from this short interview, I learned what an awful, traumatic life she lived. She was raised in an apartment building with survivors from concentration camps and the stories she grew up hearing — about babies on meat hooks and Nazis shooting little girls right through the head in from of their parents. All the time. And the severe mental illness she’s had her whole life that she lives with. You really have no idea what lies beneath the surface of someone, you know?

Book Review: “I Killed”

April 11th, 2017

(originally posted on Sunthing Special Facebook April 4, 2017)

Last night I finished the book “I Killed (True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics)” compiled by Ritch Shydner and Mark Schiff.

Hmm, how do I say this. Okay, it was overall very disturbing. A lot of the stories involved lots of drugs and wanton sex. A lot involved club-goers armed with guns and ready to shoot comics who they didn’t find funny or who offended them. A lot involved absolute hatred of the audience toward comics who were black, women, Latino, Jews and/or gay. Or hatred between comics (they seemed to particularly enjoy slamming old-time comics). And pretty much every other word started with “F”. It was awful. The content was so repetitive that really could have been condensed to about 10-12 stories and you would have gotten the point.

I read some of the stories to my husband last night. He was finally like, “No more!” That’s how awful they were. Why I kept reading them — either it was a can’t stop looking at the “car accident” kind of thing or I kept hoping the next one would be different. Or both.

And the end was really contrived — after pretty much a whole book of awful, they end with a story of a comic who performed for soldiers in Bosnia and said that’s what being a comedian is all about. Maybe for THAT particular comedian, but it sure seemed like most of the guys who got into comedy did it to get sex.

FYI, two comedians named area clubs before they began their “slamming” stories. One mentioned a place in Cleveland, and another mentioned, “Hilarities Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls, near Cleveland, Ohio. I hated it because it felt like a dungeon, and the audience hated the fact that I was from New York City”. Blah blah blah.

I don’t know how many stories there were altogether in the book, but from where I was sitting, only a handful of the comics showed class.

Not accurate, but I still like it!

June 1st, 2016

On TripAdvisor you can “pin” all the cities you’ve traveled on a world map, and it will calculate what percent of the world you’ve traveled. So far I’ve pinned 213 cities — I could probably add 50 more but they’d all be in Ohio 😉 — and it says I’ve traveled 12% of the world, which doesn’t seem accurate, since I haven’t been to much beyond North America, Costa Rica and some countries in Europe, but I still think it’s pretty cool!

1 for 5 is NOT good

May 31st, 2016

I recently shopped/made a return at Michaels, Books-A-Million, Target, JCPenney and Kohl’s. Of those five places, FOUR of them charged me incorrectly (only Target got it right). You shouldn’t have to watch your transactions like a hawk but apparently you do. Two of the places I didn’t find out until I got home so I’m going to go back to the stores. Very disappointing.