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Notes from the Underwire: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life Paperback – July 7, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Cummings, a former child actor from movies and TV shows of the late 1970s, has spent much of her life defined by those three words: "former child actor." Despite this, she's led a rewarding L.A. life in a variety of occupations and, as explored in this quirky memoir, as a mother. In a series of exceedingly funny and honest vignettes, Cummings explores topics ranging from home repair to childhood orthodontics to film industry "success" with deft, sharp prose that begs to be read aloud to friends. What is perhaps most impressive is the way Cummings owns her child stardom, with a level of grace and perspective that defies expectations. Fleshing out the acerbic, particular observations of a rather strange but loving mother, Cummings shares her experience in a way that will remind readers of their own adventures in child- and parenthood.
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Quinn Cummings is a master story-teller and her book is nothing short of delightful. Her insights into topics like celebrity, parenting, and cats with a taste for homicide are pithy and uproarious and not to be missed. Notes from the Underwire is charming, hilarious, and just snarky enough to be ultimately satisfying.―Jen Lancaster, bestselling author of Bitter Is the New Black and Such a Pretty Fat.
Erma Bombeck with an edge.―USA Today
I hadn't laughed out loud while reading a book for years, but Quinn Cumming's struggles nearly did me in. Although she describes herself as a woman who constantly blurts out exactly the wrong thing, she says everything exactly right in the brilliantly overwrought Notes from the Underwire.―Bob Tarte, author of Enslaved by Ducks and Fowl Weather
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As soon as I finished this book, I immediately downloaded another of her books, "Pet Sounds", which I'm reading now.
Of course, I read about one of her mishaps and thought, "Am I missing something? Why couldn't she just wash the blanket instead of fearing her cat her buzzed cat?"
What made the book so enjoyable was the mix of laugh-out-loud moments with the moments where you understand this is a good woman who is determined to live a good (accident prone) life and raise a productive member of society. Her other understandable goals are a bar of soap to call her own and that nobody interrupts her in the bathroom -- neither of which she's yet attained, but hope springs eternal.
There were poignant essays from her blog, The QC Report, that I wished had been included in the book but, well, they're on the blog. I also wished her editor hadn't insisted that she call her daughter by name (Alice, which isn't her name) and let her refer to her as Daughter as she does in the blog. Readers would have figured it out - this is, of course, a former child actress, who would be fiercely protective of her own child and wouldn't want to use her daughter's real name.
But, primarily, I wished that the book hadn't come to an end.
There is no doubt that Quinn Cummings has proven that no one should think of her as a "former child actor" but as an enormously talented writer with an uncanny ability to point out the wackiness of day-to-day life.
Notes from the Underwire has definitely gained a place on my list of all time favorite reading experiences!