Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places by Mary Roach

My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest PlacesMy Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places by Mary Roach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: A Hilarious Collection of Essays from one of America's Most Gifted Humorists!

Follow New York Times bestselling author Mary Roach -- but be careful not to trip -- as she weaves through personal anecdotes and everyday musings riddled with her uncanny wit and amazingly analytical eye. These essays, which found a well-deserved home within the pages of Reader's Digest as the column "My Planet," detail the inner workings of hypochondriacs, hoarders, and compulsive cheapskates. (Did we mention neurotic interior designers and professional list-makers?) For Roach, humor is hidden in the most unlikely places, which means that nothing is off limits. Whether she is dwelling on her age or talking about the pros and cons of a bedroom night light -- "A married couple can best be defined as a unit of people whose sleep habits are carefully engineered to keep each other awake" -- Roach finds a lesson, a slice of sarcasm, or a dash of something special that makes each day comical and absolutely priceless.

In keeping with our mission -- curating the best reads in the land -- Reader's Digest editors neatly packaged these timeless (and hilarious) Roach essays together for the first time. Whether you read this cover-to-cover or during spare moments over morning coffee, flip to a page in this volume and try not to smile.

My thoughts: I had mixed feelings while reading these essays by Mary Roach. First, I was incredibly amused. She is hilarious and honest yet clean. CLEAN. Did I mention hilarious? That's where the mixed feelings come in. Mary is funnier than I am. So I have to hate her just a little bit.

Still, her writing is so honest and real that I had to read snippets of it to my husband. So many of her essays were centered around her marriage and the differences between herself and her husband, Ed, who sadly resemble in many ways me and my husband. By "sadly," I really mean that it made it all the funnier to me and validated me as I assessed our hygiene gap.

Like any normal couple, we refused to accept each other's differences and did whatever we could to annoy the other person. He confessed he didn't like me using his bathrobe because I'd wear it while sitting on the toilet. "It's not like it goes in the water," I protested, though if you counted the sash as part of the robe, this wasn't strictly true.

Eventually, I brought out my handy highlighter. I do not know why I own highlighters since I haven't been a college student for many years, but I own them, love them and hoard them. Here are a few of my favorite highlighted parts:

Ed is an early-to-sleep sort of chap, who'll announce around 8 p.m., 'I'm just going to change into my pj's and read for a while.' (He falls asleep) This makes it difficult for yours truly, for I really do read in bed... Ed would like for me to do this in a quiet, motionless, pitch-dark manner. Instead, I do it in a chip-crunching, light on, getting-in-and-out-of-bed-for-more-chips manner. 

A married couple can best be defined as a unit of people whose sleep habits are carefully engineered to keep each other awake.

That one I read to my husband. He looked around the house for hidden cameras.

I must also add that my 17 year old daughter came home late the night I had this book on the counter. She sat on a stool and read for an hour before coming in to tell me goodnight. Not that I was asleep. I was actually reading in bed, occasionally getting up to get more chips. Speaking of family -

A family is a collection of people who share the same genes but cannot agree on a place to pull over for lunch. Ed and I, plus his parents and sister Doris and eight year old niece Alisha, are on a road trip to Yosemite. Poppy wants Subway, Ed wants in-N-Out Burger, Mary wants Sonic. In the end, we compromise on McDonalds, where Alisha will get an "Incredibles" action figure that will come in handy later for breaking the heater vent.

I like Mary. I think we should be friends.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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