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Disaster Preparedness: A memoir Hardcover – December 30, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In her new memoir, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS, Heather Havrilesky examines family life against the cultural backdrop of the late '70s and the '80s in suburban America. There is both the self-created, internal disasters of a young woman coming of age and the painful disasters of a family breaking apart. All of it is written in a compelling and provocative way.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS is more precisely a collection of 15 autobiographical essays than a chronological memoir. Each stands alone just fine, though altogether they paint an interesting and personal family portrait. In the first chapter, "Cousins," Havrilesky begins by recalling how she and her siblings made up an "alternative version" of the board game "Clue," where instead of trying to solve a murder they are trying to commit one. It is an odd but endearing picture of the children as they use pieces from the game "Sorry!" to act as witnesses to their crimes, creating a new set of rules for the macabre but funny version of the classic game.Read more ›
Each chapter, arranged quasi-chronologically, could stand alone as a general look at one phase of life: childhood, dealing with intra-family squabbles, the tension and divorce of her parents, trying out for cheerleading, who you pick and who picks you as friends, losing one's virginity, the death of a parent, finding love at last, and just discarding fairy tales and coming to terms with what real life is - everything is here. It's told against a soundtrack of 80s music, high school rivalries, a rotating cast of ever younger girlfriends entertained by her father, etc.
Havrilensky's writing style brings all of these inherently tense and anxiety-fraught situations home with honesty, clear vision, a knack for the ironic and the sardonic, and something of a gimlet eye towards life. The funny and the weird, bad jobs, loser boyfriends, vignettes of childhood - she remembers it all, and the reader will recognize his or her own stories in the mix as well.
It's good stuff.
This book is a collection of essays, starting with her early days and coming forward into adulthood. Her earlier memories are humorous, yes, but blackly so, with an undercurrent of fear and uncertainty. But as she matures, she seems to grow stronger, and her essays about her adult years are threaded with an inner strength and confidence that gives me hope that she will, indeed be able to survive, despite the inevitable challenges we all face.
Most Recent Customer 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 12 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 13 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 19 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 22 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