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Swerve: Reckless Observations of a Postmodern Girl Hardcover – January 26, 2004

3.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like an older sister who has life all figured out delivering a motivational speech, 33-year-old actress and comedian Tyler digresses, in a stand-up comedy approach, on popular culture, guys, personal hygiene, Sun Tzu's The Art of War (as a metaphor for dating) and how to be yourself in today's media-inflated world. Tyler, the first woman and first African-American to host E! Entertainment's Talk Soup, is clever (although she fervently denies it), confident and very modern. Unabashedly honest and optimistic, she reveals what makes her tick, dishing on how to live by mottoes such as "You are entitled to be a badass." Tyler is so hip, however, that conventional writing structures don't exactly apply to her book. Countless meditative, incomplete sentences, words such as "fergawdsakes," italics, witty footnotes and parenthetical commentaries on her own observations are all quite "postmodern," but do nothing to discredit negative 20- and 30-something stereotypes. Although the author possesses a degree in government from Dartmouth College, her writing comes right out of her mouth, clearly targeted toward the everygirl. But she produces an entertaining light read, attuned to what she presumes her readers want to talk about, down to the gritty topics of sex, dirty jokes, bikini waxing and boys. Of body image, the six-foot-tall beauty says, "Looking at celebrities as role models... is a big fat waste of time," and reminds women that "Guys. Like. Curves," acknowledging that she appeared in the Maxim Hot 100 in her underwear.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Swerve offers comedy with a feminist twist. -- The Boston Globe

Being funny comes easily to Tyler.. The book is sarcastic and feminist without laying on the dogma. -- Complex

Brilliantly funny . . . Pick it up and laugh out loud in front of strangers." -- Jane

Dazzling . . . Swerve has the same cool sensibility that made her shine as the host of E's 'Talk Soup.' -- USA Today

Packed with ... wit and wisdom on relationships, sex, our obsession with thin, and how to get your swerve on. -- Ebony

Smart, funny, and cooler than Samuel L. Jackson. . . . Swerve exudes broadminded thinking and self-confidence. -- The Kansas City Star

Swerve is very funny, quite witty, and thoroughly modern. -- Seattle Weekly

Tyler is everything she seem[s] . . . . funny, independent and very smart. -- The Arizona Republic

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition (stated) edition (January 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525948066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525948063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Too hip to be existential but filled with age old truths, SWERVE by Aisha Tyler
is a commentary on maintaining a sense of self while trying to weather the
often cold dating climate. It is packed with clever anecdotes, personal
accounts, and common sense rules for preserving dignity in the face of trying
to hook the hot guy at the end of the bar without appearing to be a harlot.
Tyler begins with a basic definition of postmodernism and then she flips it
and tells what it means to her. She goes on to discuss how she doesn't know
if SWERVE is postmodern or not. She began writing it with the idea of sending
a helpful message to women. What she ended up with was a witty observation of
life, dating, and self-esteem. Her humorous slant on the subject matter keeps
it from being a self-help book, but her many descriptions and stories will
undoubtedly lead readers to identify with some characterizations in the book.
With chapters titled "The Ballad of The Yogurt Girl" and "The War of Art, or
Aiken v. Studdard in the World Series of Love", Tyler is entertaining and
truthful in her depictions of people at work and at play. Many times the
chapters read like a conversation that Tyler was having with a friend - one
that started off on one subject, but ended up somewhere else entirely - and it
still managed to hold my attention. Where else can you find, in one chapter,
a discussion of people mimicking the personalities of Ruben Studdard and Clay
Aiken at a karoke bar and end up with a discussion of The Art War as it relates
to dating?
Using language that is spoken by those in their twenties, Tyler addresses issues
that have long been debated in sociology classes and in bars throughout the
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Format: Hardcover
Aisha Tyler has a strong and unique voice in her writing. Her genuineness and grounded perspective is what makes her humor so appealing to me. Her writing is unpretentious and honest. She rants about reality tv, unrealistic expectations, platonic relationships, dating, and sexism ( without going off on a feminist crazed rant ) to name just a few topics. She also explores the idea 'What is sexy?'.
This book was a funny, refreshing read. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a penny. Sure, the shipping was more, but the fact that there were several of them available for a penny should have told me something.

The reason I wanted to read it was because I heard Aisha Tyler on Dr. Drew and Adam's "Loveline" show. She struck me as funny, articulate, and deeply human.

She was appearing on the show to promote this book. My impression of her from that broadcast was so positive that I resolved to read her book.

Wow. I consider myself a finisher: be it video games, movies, books -- whatever -- I stick through to the end.

But I put this down about 40% of the way through and probably won't be going back to it.

It was disorganized, disjointed, and unfunny. I think she, somewhere, described her writings here as "rambling observations." Well, that's not humorous self-deprecation. They are indeed rambling.

In fact, the whole thing reads like a giant introduction! She never really seemed to get to the point, saying over and over that she was "just gonna tell it like it is," etc., etc. But what the "it" was eluded me.

But the book's lack of a central thesis is hardly its worst problem. Aisha Tyler's style apparently works best with her voice, in the way she interacts with others, and improvises.

When she sits down to gather her thoughts, it's almost like she's some debauched 14-year-old. Not funny, and not insightful.
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Format: Hardcover
I should have known better. I flipped through the book at Borders and didn't see anything that would particularly make me laugh. But I was impressed by Aisha Tyler's appearance on the Tavis Smiley show, and Tavis Smiley said that he loved the book, so I thought I would buy it anyway.
This book is poorly written. Tyler's attempts to connect with 20/30somethings come across as sloppy and flat, not engaging. Tyler has a tendency to chat on the side with the reader in a way that inspires irritation rather than trust. On p. 17 she implores, "Don't get ahead of me here, it's still early. Even I don't know what I'm going to say." On p. 218 she has this gem, "And I hate to say this--in fact, my face is contorting a little bit just for thinking it, because I know you're going to throw up your hands and chuck the book across the room again, yelling 'What is the deal with this chick?...' I just hope you bought this thing in hardback--the spines are much better able to withstand repeated drywall collisions--but the fastest way to a guy's heart is through his stomach." It's hard to get more anticlimactic than this. This language usage would work great as stand-up comedy material, but as written text it's plain awful.
Having allowed Tyler a free rein with prose, the editor seems to also relieved her/himself of the duty of proofreading the manuscript at all. I'm glad Tyler apologized on vii, because I know she could have, and should have, done better. The editor also owes us an apology, and perhaps that's why "Introduction/apologia" appears twice in the table of contents.
The content is largely a re-hash of what we've heard elsewhere, but some of it is good re-hash. My favorite part of the book is when she trashes dating-centered reality shows(p. 30-31).
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