Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Carry On by Lisa Fenn

Carry On by Lisa Fenn
Published by Harper Wave ISBN 978-0062427830
Hardcover, $25.99, 256 pages

Every once in a while, I read a book that affects me so deeply, when I finish the book I feel the need to run and tell everyone I see "You must read this book!" Lisa Fenn's Carry On is one such book.

Fenn grew up in Cleveland, and became a producer for ESPN. On a visit home, her father showed her a newspaper story about two high school wrestlers from a high school in a poor section of the city. One of the young men was blind, the other had lost his legs in a tragic train accident.

She became intrigued, and convinced her boss at ESPN to film a short documentary piece on the young men by giving him a visual- "The one who cannot walk being carried by the one who cannot see." What came out of that piece changed Fenn's life forever.

Fenn got to know the young men- Dartanyon, a big guy who got shuffled from place to place, who always carried a duffel bag of his belongings with him because he didn't know where he would be sleeping that night, and Leroy, who lost his legs in a train accident when he was eleven and was living with his grandmother.

Both young men grew up in poverty in addition to their physical challenges. They became best friends. Dartanyon would literally carry Leroy on his back into wrestling matches, and he would frequently be found at Leroy's grandmother's home where he got a decent meal.

Their bond was unbreakable, and it took Fenn a long time to break through the defenses they had to get them to open up to her. They were suspicious of Fenn, of her motives for doing the documentary. She spent many hours watching them play video games in Leroy's grandmother's basement, eventually gaining their trust.

The resulting documentary was so moving that many viewers responded by asking how they could help these courageous young men. Fenn helped set up a fund for the young men to get them into colleges, a dream they couldn't even begin to comprehend.

She found people willing to help and through sheer force of will she got them to take the SATs and both of them were able to go to college. But Dartanyon and Leroy were completely unprepared for college life, and it became Fenn's full-time job to keep these guys on track.

Carry On is a book that looks at the bigger problem of  race, privilege, class and poverty through the prism of these two young men. For everyone who says, why can't people just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and succeed, the complications of that type of thinking is in here.

Fenn is a woman of faith, and I enjoyed that aspect of the book. She believed that she couldn't just walk away from these young men, that she could make a difference even when most people would give up.

Carry On will appeal to anyone who loves a good story about sports and the difference we can make in other people's lives. I cried throughout the book several times, and it reminded me of  Jeff Hobbs' brilliant book, The Life and Tragic Death of Robert Peace. Both books do a fantastic job of showing us a way of life most of us are unfamiliar with.

If you are the kind of person who only reads one book a year, make it Carry On. I would love to see this become a book read in high schools, colleges and in city reads program. It is the best non-fiction book I have read this year, hands-down.



Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Lisa Fenn's tour. The rest of Lisa's stops are here:

Tour Stops

Tuesday, August 16th: Emerald City Book Review
Thursday, August 18th: Becklist
Friday, August 19th: Dreaming Big
Monday, August 22nd: Mother’s Circle
Tuesday, August 23rd: bookchickdi
Wednesday, August 24th: Tina Says…
Thursday, August 25th: Literary Quicksand
Monday, August 29th: Helen’s Book Blog
Tuesday, August 30th: Cait’s Cozy Corner
Wednesday, August 31st: Book by Book
Thursday, September 1st: Many Hats
Wednesday, September 7th: Back Porchervations
Thursday, September 8th: Rebecca Radish
Monday, September 12th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, September 13th: The Paperback Pilgrim
Monday, September 19th: Reading is My Super Power

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Report- Three Novels About Romantic Relationships

Reprinted from auburnpub.com 

This month’s Book Report tackles the topic of romantic relationships. Two of the novels, “This Must Be The Place” and “The Hopefuls” deal with the ups and downs of marriage and identity, and the third, “The Hating Game”, reveals a relationship as it blossoms from hate to love.

Sally Thorne takes on workplace romantic relationships in “The Hating Game”.  Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman sit across from each other in their respective positions as assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. When the companies merged, Lucy and Joshua were forced to work in close quarters, much their displeasure. 

Lucy’s Bexley team are lovers of literature, people who believed that literature is art, as necessary to people’s lives as air is to breathe. Joshua’s Gamin team is more analytical; they believe in “key performance indicator targets” and that books are units to be sold.

Each team needs the other to survive in today’s competitive market. Joshua thinks Lucy is too soft on her staff, letting them shirk their responsibilities so that she has to pick up their slack. Lucy thinks Josh is a jerk, and the macho posturing of his team annoys her.

Though they claim to hate each other, events conspire to throw them together and the course of true love never runs smooth. The fact that they are up for the same promotion makes their rivalry even more personal and intense.

“The Hating Game” is a terrific workplace romance novel, and the reader roots for Lucy and Joshua to realize their feelings for each other. Thorne writes some hot and steamy sex scenes. Her first book is so well done, it felt like it was written by someone who has been doing this awhile. I loved the characters and hope to see them again sometime.

Jennifer Close’s third novel, “The Hopefuls” is publishing at just the right time. Matt and Beth’s story takes place in Washington DC, where Matt hopes his work as legal counsel in the Obama administration will help him land a position that he can leverage into running for political office himself. 

Beth reluctantly follows her husband from New York City to DC, hoping to find her place there as well. She doesn’t like politics, and in a company town like DC, it’s hard to meet anyone who doesn’t identify themselves by their security clearance level.

When they meet golden boy Jimmy and his wife Ash, Beth finally feels like she has a friend. Matt is envious of Jimmy’s position and his easy way with people. Everything seems to fall in Jimmy’s lap.

“The Hopefuls” reveals Matt and Beth’s marriage through the prism of politics, and how difficult it is to be married to someone who is so totally consumed by his career when the other person’s  career is less satisfying. Matt and Beth compare themselves to Jimmy and Ash, and when they follow them to Texas to help Jimmy run for office, the problems in their marriage become magnified. Close gets the details of marriage so right in this book, investing the reader in their marriage.

She excels in her character development. The scenes with Matt’s family, his overbearing mother who makes the in-laws sit at a separate dinner table from their spouses, are so perfectly written that we know these characters well even though they are only around for a little while.

Maggie O’Farrell’s “This Must Be The Place” weaves together the story of Daniel, an American who while on a trip to Ireland to pick up the ashes of his dead grandfather, meets Claudette, a famous actress who ran away from her director husband and stardom with her young son to live in seclusion. 

Daniel is upset about the dissolution of his marriage and the fact that his ex-wife refuses to allow him to see his children. He falls in love with Claudette and Ari, her son. He stays in Ireland, they marry and have two children of their own.

Claudette is a difficult woman, she prefers to stay on her secluded property, homeschooling her children. Daniel works as a professor of linguistics and loves his wife dearly. 

Daniel has to face an event from 20 years ago that forces him to look at just the kind of man he really is, is he the good man he thinks himself to be?

O’Farrell brilliantly weaves together Daniel and Claudette’s story, using perspective from others along the way. Her theme of the redemptive quality of love is one worth contemplating in this moving story.

Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Trade paperback, $14.99, 384 pages

Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Hardcover, $25.95, 320 pages

“This Must Be The Place” by Maggie O’Farrell-A
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Hardcover, $26.95, 382 pages



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lowcountry Stranger by Ashley Farley

Lowcountry Stranger by Ashley Farley
Published by Leisure Time Publishing
Ebook, $3.99


Lowcountry Stranger is Ashley Farley's second novel in her Sweeney Sister series, first introduced in Her Sister's Shoes. I didn't read the first novel, and when I started Lowcountry Stranger I feared that I would be lost. I admit it took me a few pages to get adjusted, but once I did, I was hooked by this intriguing family's story.

As the book opens, Faith is celebrating her marriage to Dr. Mike in her hometown of Prospect, South Carolina. This is Faith's second marriage, her first was to an abusive man who is now in prison. Faith's seven-year-old daughter Bitsy hasn't spoken a word since the incident that put her father away.

Faith's oldest sister Jackie spends her week working as a decorator in Charleston, coming home on the weekend to her twin high school senior sons and her doctor husband. Jackie is feeling restless, wanting to further her career, and troubled by her husband's infidelity last year.

Middle sister Sam is a single mom who raised her college-aged son Jamie on her own. Sam manages the family seafood market, a Prospect mainstay. Sam is dating Eli, a town policeman who loves and wants to marry her, but Sam says that marriage is not for her.

When a bedraggled teenage girl Annie shows up at the wedding, the Sweeney sisters reluctantly take her in after she tells them she was traveling with a family she was working for when they abandoned her and took off.

Bitsy takes a shine to Annie and she speaks her first words to Annie. Faith is so moved by this, she asks Annie to care for Bitsy while she works. But although something seems not quite right with Annie, the Sweeneys open their homes to Annie.

Life has it's ups and downs for the Sweeneys. Faith is very protective of Bitsy, and when they all took Annie in so quickly, I thought maybe it was a little too fast. They really knew nothing about her, and let her care for a traumatized young girl. Eventually we find out Annie's true story, and how it affects the entire Sweeney family.

I got caught up in the Sweeney Sisters story very quickly, and loved the setting of the small town in the Lowcountry. And as someone who once owned a small fast food restaurant, the family seafood market business was fascinating to me.

There a lot of characters to follow in the book, but I was fully invested in each of their stories. I loved the sisters' relationships, and the cousins' strong connections to each other. Sometimes in novels of this genre, the male characters tend to be somewhat one-dimensional, but here the men were full partners in the story and fully fleshed out.

After reading Lowcountry Stranger, I am going to read Her Sister's Shoes to see what I missed, and I am waiting not-so-patiently for the next installment. If you like family stories, especially sister stories, you'll love Lowcountry Stranger.

Ashley Farley is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to celebrate the publication of Low Country Stranger. To enter follow the instructions here:

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Purchase Links

Ashley Farley has a really fun website with some cool information graphics about the Sweeney sisters, including music playlists for each sister. 
Visit her website at†http://www.ashleyfarley.net.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Ashley Farley's tour. The rest of the stops are here:

Tour Stops

Monday, August 1st: Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps
Wednesday, August 3rd: bookchickdi
Thursday, August 4th: Tina Says…
Thursday, August 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, August 12th: Art @ Home
Tuesday, August 16th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, August 22nd: Comfy Reading
Wednesday, August 24th: I Brought a Book
Saturday, August 27th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, September 7th: Bibliotica
Thursday, September 8th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach

Monday, September 12th: Reading is My Super Power



Home Field by Hannah Gersen

Home Field by Hannah Gersen
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks ISBN 9780062413741
Trade paperback, $14.99, 432 pages

Hannah Gersen's debut novel Home Field is billed as a combination of Friday Night Lights and My So-Called Life. That's quite a high bar to set, and Gersen clears it with room to spare.

Dean is a successful high school football coach in a small Maryland town. He runs a terrific program, and is known and respected throughout the town. Years ago he married a young widow, Nicole, whose husband was a high school football hero. Nicole and her husband were high school sweethearts and had a young daughter, Stephanie, when he was diagnosed and died.

Nicole suffers from depression, perhaps she never got over the loss of the love of her life. Dean was smitten with her and young Stephanie, and they married and had two boys of their own, Robbie and Bryan.

As the story opens, Nicole commits suicide and is found by her eleven-year-old son Robbie. Stephanie is set to go away to college, and struggles with leaving her brothers and father to go so far from home. Robbie begins cutting class and acting out, and finally finds salvation by participating in the high school play.

Bryan has spending more time with Nicole's sister and her family, devoutly religious people. Bryan finds solace in religion, much to Dean's concern. He feels that his sister-in-law is unduly influencing his young son.

Coaching a successful high school football program is a time-consuming profession, and Dean comes to the conclusion that he needs to step down for the sake of his children. He also becomes involved with Robbie's school counselor, a woman he knew when she was a substitute teacher at his school.

Stephanie is trying to find her way in the world, and Gersen really nails the feelings of a young woman adrift. She is grieving the loss of a mother she loved, feeling angry that her mother abandoned them all, and sad that her mother was suffering so. She also feels guilty that she has left her brothers behind.

Reading this part of the story took me back to my own time going away to college, so vivid is the connection between Stephanie's experiences and most young women. Bravo to Ms. Gersen.

Just when Dean thinks he is losing it all, an opportunity to temporarily coach the girls cross country track team falls in his lap. He misses football, and he forms a connection with the girls that gives him a sense of control and accomplishment he is lacking in his personal life.

Gersen does a wonderful job with the setting and characters of her story. She has the small town atmosphere just right, and we care deeply about these people, even as we see them making mistakes. Dean in particular needs to learn the importance of verbal communication with his children. They need to talk about what happened to them, and he, like many men, has trouble with that.

Home Field is an emotional, moving book that touched my heart. Gersen's ability to write so beautifully and realistically in the voices of Dean, Stephanie and Robbie is quite an accomplishment. I recommend Home Field to anyone who loves a good family story.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Hannah Gersen's tour. The rest of the stops are here:

Tour Stops

Tuesday, July 26th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 28th: A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, July 29th: Broken Teepee
Monday, August 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, August 2nd: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Wednesday, August 3rd: bookchickdi
Thursday, August 4th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, August 8th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, August 9th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, August 10th: Sweet Southern Home

Hannah Gersen's website is here.

Monday, August 1, 2016

They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine

They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine
Published by Sarah Crichton Books ISBN 9780062277022
Hardcover, $26, 304 pages


Cathleen Schine's newest novel, They May Not Mean To, But They Do is a gem. It tells the story of a family who are at the stage of life where they must deal with aging parents.

The mother Joy is described by her adult daughter Molly as thus:
"They found Joy disconcerting, and they were right. She was so intimate and so remote, as remote as a faraway, nameless planet sometimes; sometimes soft and sympathetic. She was talkative, yet she heard everything you said or thought you might say. She was wise and she was deep, intuitive, the kind of person to whom people confided their darkest secrets; she was scatterbrained and easily distractible and often forgot people's darkest secrets, which, as she always said, was just as well."
Joy lives with her husband, Aaron, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, in the apartment they have had for many years on the Upper West Side in New York City. Joy is caring for Aaron at home, while also still working part-time cataloguing items at a museum. The museum would like to see Joy retire, but Joy needs the job both for the money and her sanity.

Molly divorced her husband and now lives with her female partner in California. She likes her life in California, and flies home a few times a year to help organize her parents bills and medical issues. Daniel is married and lives in lower Manhattan with his wife and two pre-teen daughters. He works hard, and his responsibilities to his own family mean that he doesn't see his parents as often as Joy would like.

As Aaron seems to be getting worse, Joy has a hard time keeping up. It is too difficult to take Aaron out for walks, and they subsist almost completely on takeout food delivered from the local coffee shop. Piles of papers start to build up, and the apartment is getting too cluttered. Even the part-time housekeeper isn't helping.

Schine's moving novel deals with issues that most families will have to face- aging parents. She is empathetic to Joy's plight, and in her creates an indelible character many people will relate to. We can see how difficult it is for Joy to watch her husband failing, and to know that very soon she won't be able to care for him alone.

Molly and Daniel have their own lives to handle, and all the emotions they feel about what is happening to their parents- the guilt, anger, sadness, and frustration- are universal to adult children everywhere.

Schine gets all the details right too. You can feel the claustrophobia of Joy and Aaron's apartment, and smell the food cooking for their Thanksgiving dinner. This is a truly sensory book.

I've read some of Schine's other novels- The New Yorkers, The Three Weismanns of Westport, and Fin & Lady- and They May Not Mean To, But They Do is her best book yet.  For someone as young as she is to put herself so completely into the character of Joy is a brilliant achievement. Anyone who has older parents will do well to read this book, if only to get a glimpse of what they are going through. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weekend Cooking- Restaurant Week in NYC

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

A few times a year, Restaurant Week is celebrated in NYC. Close to 400 restaurants offer three course pre-fixe lunch ($29) and dinner ($42) menus to give diners a chance to sample restaurants they may not normally get to try.

Restaurant Week this summer runs July 25th-August 19th, and we visited three restaurants this week; two we have been to before- Smith & Wollensky and The Bull and Bear at the Waldorf Astoria- and a new one, Scarpetta.

When we arrived at Smith & Wollensky, they whisked us up to the second floor where apparently all the Restaurant Week diners were seated. The meal was good, split pea soup, and surf and turf for my husband (a $10 upcharge) and caesar salad, and roast beef hash for me. (My husband was happy that there was enough hash leftover for his breakfast the next day,) We both had the chocolate mousse cake for dessert, and we had an entire piece of cake leftover for the next night's dinner. The service was fine, but efficient, they definitely wanted to turn the table over. We were out of there in less than an hour, there was no lingering.

We brought one of our sons to Bull and Bear, where we had a table in the middle of the dining room. We had to ask for the Restaurant Week menu, but the service was excellent and we didn't feel rushed. My husband loves their Onion Gratinee Soup, so he was thrilled it was on the menu. It was delicious, although my son said that it was too hot for soup, so he missed out.
Onion Gratinee Soup

There were three entrees, so we each had one- I had the burger and fries, my husband had the roast chicken, and our son had the skirt steak. They were all fine, nothing too exciting. We had red velvet cake for dessert, and that was good too. The Onion Gratinee Soup was the highlight of the meal.

Last night, we met at Scarpetta, located near the High Line. It's tucked into 14th Street just before 9th Avenue, and the sign is so small, my husband and I both missed it. We started with a martini that was very refreshing and light, made with chambord.

Our server was wonderful very welcoming and he took the time to explain the Restaurant Week menu and make suggestions. We started with the Creamy Polenta with truffled mushrooms which was out- of-this-world good.
Creamy Polenta

We moved onto the Spaghetti with tomato and basil, which is a signature dish there.Even though it didn't have meatballs, which disappointed my husband, when we ate it, we both decided that it was not missing any flavor. That was the best spaghetti we've ever had, creamy with parmesan cheese mixed in.
Spaghetti

I had the Valrhona Chocolate Cake with chocolate caramel butterscotch gelato and while it was small in portion, it was big in flavor. My husband was not as excited about his Coconut Panna Cotta.

Chocolate Cake
Scarpetta was the clear winner here, and they wisely used the opportunity to sell us on coming back to their restaurant. Our server told us about other menu items we may like to try next time, something the other two restaurants did not do so well.

Restaurant Week is an opportunity to showcase your restaurant and create new customers. Some places treat the Restaurant Week diners as an annoyance, people who are just there to get a cheap meal, whereas the smart places know that once you get people in the door, it's up to you to bring them back. We will go back to Scarpetta.

For more on Restaurant Week, visit their website here.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New in paperback- All The Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

All The Stars In The Heavens by Adriana Trigiani
Published by Harper ISBN 978-0-06-2319191-7
Trade paperback, $15.99, 447 pages

Reading Adriana Trigiani's newest novel All The Stars In The Heavens feels like watching a fascinating Turner Classic Movies documentary. I felt like putting on my best peignoir, slipping on my feathered mules, applying the reddest shade of lipstick, and mixing myself a martini garnished with olives as I dove into the story-behind-the-story of Loretta Young and Clark Gable's forbidden Hollywood romance while reclining on my bedroom chaise.

Loretta Young was a hardworking, well-known young actress when she was cast as the thirteen-years-older Clark Cable's love interest in the movie The Call of The Wild. The movie was to be shot on location in a remote area near Seattle.

Young's assistant, the former-almost-nun-until-she-was-told-by-Mother-Superior-that-she-was-not-nun-material Alda Ducci accompanied Loretta. They were among the very few women on the set, so they managed to attract the attentions of more than a few of the men.

Clark Gable avidly pursued Loretta, even though he was married. Loretta had just ended a romantic, though chaste, relationship with actor Spencer Tracy and even though she had a reputation for falling a little bit in love with her leading men, she was determined not to do so with Gable.

She resisted until she couldn't anymore, and when Loretta and Gable traveled to Seattle to be witnesses to a wedding between Alda and a set painter after a whirlwind romance, she gave in.

The affair had long-lasting consequences, and although Gable promised that he was going to divorce his wife to be with Loretta, he strung Loretta along. Loretta had a career to worry about, and home wrecker would not look good in the tabloids or on her resume.

There were so many things I loved about All The Stars In The Heavens, it could be a multi-part post, but I will just touch on the highlights.

  • The novel takes real people and a true story and imagines what really happened, and those kind of stories I find irresistible when done well, and Trigiani aims high and hits a home run here.  
  • I love Hollywood behind-the-scenes-stories, and to see a different side of have such unforgettable characters as Young, Gable, a young David Niven, Spencer Tracy, Myrna Loy and Hattie McDaniel was thrilling.
  • The scene with Gable and Hattie McDaniel on the set of Saratoga, the 1937 movie where Jean Harlow died on set, made me giddy. We see their bantering and flirting, and now I remember why I loved the scenes between Mammy and Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind so much. (GWTW is my favorite movie!)
  • Women in Trigiani's books are strong women, and always strive to have a career. Here we see that Loretta worked hard to support her mother and sisters, and invested her money in real estate. How many women (or men) in Hollywood were smart enough to do that? Loretta's mother, a single mom, had to raise her four daughters, and built a stellar career in real estate investment and interior design. She was a terrific example for her girls, and Trigiani's protagonists are good examples for women to work hard and follow their dreams to get ahead.
  • The gorgeous cover of the paperback edition makes this a book to own in hardcover and paperback.
I could go on and on, but I'll just tell you that I loved that Trigiani has stepped up her already stellar game in All The Stars In The Heavens, and you will lose yourself in a dazzling Hollywood love story that will have you googling Loretta Young/Clark Cable to find out the story that inspired this gorgeous novel. I give it my highest recommendation.

I wrote a #WeekendCooking post about the foodie passages in All The Stars In The Heavens here. 

Adriana Trigiana's website is here.  Like her author page on Facebook for fun giveaways.


Monday, July 18, 2016

You'll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
Published by Grand Central ISBN 9781478936619
Hardcover, $26, 287 pages

Jessi Klein is the head writer and executive producer of the very funny Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. For that reason alone I wanted to read her book, You'll Grow Out Of It.

The book is a series of essays about how Jessi got to be where and who she is. The first essay, The Tom Man, recounts what happens when a  tomboy grows up. People like tomboys, tom men not so much.

She didn't care much what she looked like, wearing "her dad's old button-down cowboy shirts with enormous shapeless jeans and combat boots" in high school. When she got a real office job, she still dresses " a smidge like a rodeo clown" and thought that Hanes Her Way bikini underwear was the height of sexiness.

Finally, when she met a girlfriend at a bar, and her friend told her that she loved her, but her maroon backpack overflowing with papers and books hurt her feelings, she got the message. Jessi decided that if she wanted to date a Grown Man then she'd have to make an attempt to look like a Grown Woman.
"But when I looked at what it would mean to become a woman- one of those standard grown-up ladies, like the ones from commercials for gum or soda or shampoo- it all seemed to involve shrinking rather than growing."
Klein's observations are thoughtful, like in her essay The Bath, about how women loves baths because for women, the bath is "where you go when you run out of options", when you don't have a room of your own to go to.
"This is why Virginia Woolf stressed the importance of having a room of one's own. If you don't fight for it, don't insist on it, don't sacrifice for it, you might end in that increasingly tepid water, pruning and sweating while you dream of other things."

Klein is a comedy writer, so there are many funny lines in here, like describing a woman who was "just rounding third from medium drunk to very drunk." (I'm a sucker for a baseball metaphor.)

In talking about attending a Bar Method exercise class, she observes that "women have problem areas in a way that men don't. We have big hips and muffin tops. Men just have the thing where they create wars and wreak havoc all over the globe."

In The Cad, she advises that "when you encounter a man wearing loafers with no socks, run. I once heard that the late Tim Russert also believed that a sockless man is not to be trusted, which means that it is definitively true."

One of her funniest essays is Types, where she describes the different types of men she likes and their celebrity inspiration. I don't normally read anything about the TV show The Bachelor, but her take on it made me think, as did her essay on porn.

The one essay that spoke to me the most was Ma'am, abut that time in all our lives when we move from being called miss to being called ma'am by department store clerks, waiters, bank tellers, etc. I just kept saying "amen" throughout this essay, like Klein was a preacher in church and I was agreeing wholeheartedly with her sermon.

The book ends with Klein preparing to attend the Emmy Awards, just a few weeks after giving birth to her son. She was panicked about choosing a dress, and when her friend told her that the one Jessi liked best made her look like Mrs. Roper, she nearly gave up hope.  Anyone who likes the backstory on Hollywood will love that essay.

You'll Grow Out Of It made me laugh and made me think, just like when I watch Amy Schumer's show. It's a little Tina Fey mixed with Amy Poehler mixed with Nora Ephron, and it's a great gift to give to a young woman just starting out in life. I recommend it.