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A product of growing up in the destabilizing 1970s in Durham, N.C., journalist Havrilesky (Salon.com) has fashioned a series of funny, offbeat, girl-friendly essays that treat some of the iconoclasm of that era, namely the rupture of divorce, the failure of religion, and the supremacy of consumerism. The youngest of three, the author became aware early on that her parents did not get along, yet she also learned from seemingly normal (but suicidal) friends that life wasn't greener on the other side. Her mother evolved from being a faculty wife to getting a full-time job, while her father, a professor, enjoyed "a rotating cast of younger girlfriends" in his condo across town. The divorce of her parents (her mother first moved out for a spell to live in a rented apartment by herself)--made the siblings realize that nothing that adults told them from then on could be trusted. Moreover, Havrilesky's father died suddenly of a heart attack at age 56, leaving her wondering whether she had ever really known him. Havrilesky's winning essays venture into the perils of socialization and dating, always keeping a light, self-deprecating tone that attains at moments a wonderfully humane sagacity. (Jan.)
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As a kid of the 1970s, Havrilesky drafted plans and mapped escape routes in case any of the catastrophes depicted in the era’s popular disaster flicks happened in real life. Everything from alien invasions to house fires were covered. But what about growing up? There aren’t enough tin-foil hats in the world to prepare for the myriad everyday farces and small disasters that scar us emotionally in the course of coming of age. Disclosing her family history with both intimacy and sarcastic wit, Havrilesky focuses on her relationship with her parents, the aftershocks of their divorce, and her active pursuit of self—in cheerleading, boxing, New Age therapy, and some awkward romantic entanglements. While this memoir is dedicated to her fiercely independent mother, she creates a pensive, loving, and honest eulogy for her late father, the spontaneous adventurer. The end, refreshingly free of spite and full of hard-won optimism, is the true accomplishment of her work. --Courtney Jones --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
If you grew up in the '70s and '80s, your own memories are probably as good (or bad) as the author's. If not, you probably won't be much amused by her dysfunctional family.Published 7 months ago by AZ Reader
A very funny read, a book you cant stop reading once you start. And on top of that, the author, through her own self-awareness and life experience, concludes in some realizations... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dimitris VAVOUGYIOS
Utterly pointless. Serves as a MFA-type (full of creative adjectives and punchy metaphor) of blog condensed into book form. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jen Richardson
Somewhat callous and sarcastic, other times as soft and gooey as a melted Snickers bar. Heather has written her life in frank and funny truth!Published 18 months ago by Michelle Helms
Heather is a well written author who reminded me at times of Augusten Burroughs. As much as I wanted (tried) to enjoy these stories, they often felt lacking in energy which... Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by Lulu Magoo
Disaster Preparedness chronicles the author's childhood and the dissolution of her parents' marriage. Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer
It's a commonplace that the literary world is now littered with way too many memoirs, and it's difficult to find one distinctive enough to reward the time we must take away from... Read morePublished on January 25, 2013 by Rob Holland
I was given this book because I think the person thought it was related to disaster preparedness--something I'm interested in. Read morePublished on June 2, 2012 by SusanR1981
I loved this author's dry humor. You can really relate to the odd family circumstances as everyone's family has a little strangeness in it.Published on March 11, 2012 by TinaShoe