From Publishers Weekly
Every day for comedian and writer Spero is an endless stream of microthrills: intense gratification gathered from mundane pleasures like fruit-scented markers and squishy rubber keychains. Eschewing traditional ideas of fun-dangerous pursuits like roller coasters and bike riding-Spero nonetheless has exciting, zany experiences daily, whether showing her finger puppet collection to potential roommates or dealing with desperate e-mail from her jealous dentist. The drama began early for Spero, growing up with an energetic, anxious, fiercely loving mother: parting each frenzied morning involved "a tortuous good-bye ritual involving a lot of puckered-lip pecking and Eskimo nose-kissing," and her mother's late return from work each evening caused Spero to "pace in my Garfield nightgown, ranting about the dangers of the city to the balding night doorman who doesn't speak English." Spero has an impressive memory for the sensory details of her childhood; she longingly recalls her Halloween masks, "how the mouth portion got slightly sticky, and how I'd feel nearly suffocated by the fog of my candy-scented breath." Though her essays sometimes lack narrative structure, there's plenty of funny one-liners ("I have absolutely no memory of my mother against a natural backdrop, although I do recall her running in heels from furry bees in the park"), and Spero's down-to-earth, adorably compulsive voice delivers some priceless moments.
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Never one for derring-do, comedian and actress Spero is content to inhabit a "small world brimming with tiny thrills." Fittingly, this series of vignettes prompts many pleasant chuckles but few gut-busting guffaws. Sure, she has a quirky family: a petite, sex-therapist mother, who sports nine layers of shoulder pads and with whom Spero long shared a tiny apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side; an adoring grandfather, a dead-ringer for Albert Einstein, insistent upon videotaping her every dramatic inclination. Her habits are odd, too: as a child, she sniffed scented markers and removed her arm hair with Nair; as an adult, she continues a strangely intimate relationship with a sprawling collection of stuffed animals. Spero's juvenile tendencies carry over into her professional life as well: she regularly leaves Tootsie Roll residue on memos and sprinkles pink glitter on her boss' budget reports. This memoir doesn't reach the hilarious heights of David Sedaris, but it possesses a sweetness often lacking in today's comic fare. The book is inspired by a one-woman show of the same name. Allison BlockCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved