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Microthrills: True Stories from a Life of Small Highs Hardcover – August 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press; First Edition edition (August 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594630194
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630194
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,122,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 29 customer reviews
Go read this book immediately.
Katie
I thought the book was incredibly unique -I laughed out loud but also found it poignant.
evie5
Before I knew it, hours had gone by and I had read the whole thing.
Detra Fitch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Adam Pisoni on August 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There are thousands of 'slice of life' books which range from traumatic to absurd. The life of Wendy as portrayed in Microthrills seems far more relatable than many of these. Amos claims she actually toned down her OCD for the book. Still, with as crazy as she seems, there are aspects of her neurosis that anyone can relate to. We're all a little neurotic after all. On top of being extremely interesting, this book is also extremely funny. Many times during my read I laughed as if I had been there at that moment and experienced what she had experienced, feeling the joy she felt at experiencing something unique and strange.

After finishing her book I had a general feeling that I needed to be more observant in life. Wendy shows us that no life is ordinary if you look at it through the right kind of eyes. Situations which we might perceive as painful or awkward can be seen as novel and humorous. We're surrounded by absurdity. Recognizing the absurd makes life that much more interesting.

I enjoyed the whole book, cover to cover. Unlike albums where there are only a few songs you REALLY like, I felt every chapter of this book was worth reading.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen G. on February 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. What a total and utter surprise.

After reading the rave reviews on Amazon I figured I would get the book and it would be a letdown. Good, but not 5-star good. Well, I was wrong -- and the reviews were right. Do yourself a favor and get this book.

You probably won't learn any life lessons that you can teach your children, but you'll close the book with an understanding of life in another person's shoes. There were lots of things I was shocked about (people live like that?!) and just as many things I identified with (oh my gosh, me too!!). As soon as I finished this book I forced my roomate to read it -- every 5 minutes there was a roar of laughter from the next room for the next few nights.

Its honest. Its funny. You'll want to read it all, and you'll be sad when it is over. I recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Emma Sollars on August 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is hilariously funny, honest and I enjoyed every second of it. Wendy Spero has a really unique ability to view some of life's truly bizarre events with joy and humor and reading this book, you couldn't help but share in it. She's also so gut-wrenchingly, heart-stoppingly funny that I laughed until I cried and then some. Read this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Norma Davidoff on November 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found this book clever, touching, and witty. It is a wonderful story of growing up in NYC, but it really could take place almost anywhere stateside. A great read!

Norma Davidoff
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Detra Fitch VINE VOICE on July 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
I do not read much non-fiction. I live real life. I read to escape it. But the bright neon yellow cover of this book was eye-catching. So, against my will, my feet walked up to it, my hand picked it up, and my eyes began reading. Before I knew it, hours had gone by and I had read the whole thing.

In this book, Wendy "Wendaay" Spero tells readers true stories about her life in a way that only she can do. From her childhood, to her awkward years, and on up to the present day. Being raised by a mother like Wendy's makes for some interesting memories. (I will think of Wendy and her mother every time I go to a fair from now on.)

***** Engrossing, packed with humor, and just all around fun, this is one book you will never forget. Very highly recommended! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. liftin on August 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
thank god for wendy spero. for all the "funny" books that promote "the next david sedaris," finally a funny, funny woman who isn't the next anyone but herself. i don't know exactly where to begin. she just captures small funny moments and obsessions and it rings so true that you think it happened to you or is your obsession. like when she talks about Float Night at her camp. I became convinced that I went to her same camp. (then it turned out that I did, but you see my point). microthrills is right--this book is pure entertainment on the microscopic level. now everyone's going to be saying they're "the next wendy spero," but it won't ever be true.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By evie5 on August 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Wendy's book is completely original and completely funny. Unlike a lot of the contemporary memoirs out there all competing to sound smarter than the next guy, Wendy is honest and straightforward. I thought the book was incredibly unique -I laughed out loud but also found it poignant. I hope there' a follow up soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lady Cruzstein on August 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Wendy Spero is an unusually gifted storyteller-- In Microthrills (as well as on stage), she craftily blends her hilarious wit with personal but generalizable insights about the everyday crazy workings of the world. I could not get enough of this book. I found myself wanting to sell door-to-door knives, produce finger-puppet dramas, and have sex with her swarthy boyfriend while singing Carly Simon tunes under a waterfall of pink glitter. Highly recommended. The perfect summer read.
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