Top positive review
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A Rollicking Good Time from Cover to Cover!
on November 4, 2010
I'm almost never compelled to write online reviews, but I feel like I need to write one for Simple Times because it's an absolute gem! If you enjoyed Amy's first foray into the world of how-to, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, you will love Simple Times. Everything that made I Like You such an immensely entertaining romp is back with a vengeance! It's comprised of the same kind of humor and the exact same kitschy, homemade style that makes I Like You such a blast. Take the brief crafts chapter at the end of I Like You, and imagine if it had continued. That is exactly what Simple Times is: A sequel to--a continuation of--Amy's first book. There are a couple differences, however. I Like You is a very real hospitality guide (in addition to being my go-to cookbook) and contains a lot of genuine information and useful tips in between the jokes. The informational/text portions of Simple Times, on the other hand, are mostly jokes. You will garner some real information from it (particularly the chapters on rabbit care and making sausage, if you're into those things), but by and large, the text is humor. I read it cover-to-cover and was constantly busting up laughing. As far as the crafts go, think of crafts you made in scouts or Bible school as a kid. This is mostly what you'll find in Simple Times. Some are jokes (i.e. using a plastic sandwich bag as a condom), but many are very real, and if nothing else, will act as a springboard for inspiration and ideas... which leads me to the instructions. When flipping through the book, make sure you don't skip reading the craft instructions. Many of them are uproariously funny! Some of the instructions are vague, but that's kind of the point of Simple Times--not necessarily to teach the reader step-by-step, but rather to inspire ideas and imagination. Visually, Simple Times is identical to I Like You. Colorful photos jump off of every page, and Amy portrays an array of characters, from Jesus, to a hormonal teenager, to [my personal favorite] a crotchety old candyman, all with incredible costumes and special effects make-up.
If you're buying Simple Times with the expectation of a serious, Martha Stewart-esque tome that will teach you how to create extravagant centerpieces for your perfectionist sister's wedding, you will be completely foiled. But that would just be your own fault, because if that's the type of book you're looking for, then what on earth are you doing with an Amy Sedaris book in the first place????? Notice how this book is listed not only in the crafts & hobbies section, but also under PARODIES. Sure, Simple Times is a crafts book, but mostly it's a rollicking good time. If you are unfamiliar with Amy Sedaris, do yourself a favor and look her up before buying this book--or at least take a careful look through the preview here on Amazon. She is first and foremost known as a comedienne, and her brand of humor is not for everyone.
The only other thing I want to mention is about the audiobook. The audiobook is FANTASTIC. Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello read on it together, and it is crazy entertaining. That said, if you're looking at purchasing the audiobook, make sure you get the hardcover to go with it. Simple Times is all about the visuals.