Anyhow, we had the hands-down, tip-top fabulous, best babysitter in the history of babysitters in Houma: Amy Bowen. Why she agreed to sit the four rowdy King kids is absolutely beyond me, but she did, and we loved her like a fat kid loves cake. She was fun and crazy and hilarious, and we basically wanted our parents to adopt her so we could have her every second of every day.
One time when I was in 4th grade, Amy was babysitting, and I don’t remember how it began, but she started tickling me. Because she’d let us all have Coke and Kool-aid and chocolate milk all night (GAH I loved her), my bladder was full, but because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t make sound much less produce words to tell her I was in trouble, right there, right in our living room, I peed my pants.
I have a point.
Somewhere between the emails this week that said, “STOP POSTING BOOKS THAT JACK WITH US” and “I like you so much but sometimes I wish all ten of your typing fingers were broken,” I realized that Book Week is about to make a bunch of you pee your pants. You’ve hit your limit. The bladder is full. Time to back off.
So. I’m still going to recommend books today, but these are guaranteed to not urge you to sell your house or move to Guatemala or start using recycled toilet paper. These are in a different category: fiction or memoir or humor or anything else in the genre of Lighten Up, Jen.
These are books I looooooooved. Loved. Loved. Lovelovelove. L.O.V.E.D. Loved. (Not all of these books are G-rated. The end. Great literature never has been. The Bible has some very X-rated material, in fact. Do not send me emails saying some of these books said ess aych eye tee.)
You cannot read this book in public, because it will induce snorting and outbursts and tears of hysterics. I have read this book four times, if that tells you anything. Funny, funny, funny, funny, funny! Especially if you’re a Saturday Night Live fan. Or a fan of comedy. Or laughter and joy. Or smiling.
Let me give you this excerpt from Tina’s “Prayer for my Daughter” in Bossypants and leave it at that, because if you don’t think this is hilarious, all hope is lost:
Even writing about The Middle Place makes me want to run back to my tattered copy and read it for the 8th time. (Kelly’s dad, Greenie, bears such resemblance to my larger-than-life, beloved, infamous Dad, that as my sisters and I read this book individually, we’d text each other on breaks, in airports, and from workplace bathrooms to discuss which parts made us think of Dad while we were bawling and trying to act inconspicuous.)
I’ve mentioned before here that thanks to my Dad, I’ve been overvalued my entire life, so I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sections from The Middle Place:
She is a young New York resident and writer, which provides us its own bizarre demographic of retail, society, neurotic, and ambitious hilarity. She manages to draw you into the grief and confusion of life, as well as its outrageousness and irresponsibility. She is unique and endearing and hilarious, I’ll just leave you with some quotes from I Was Told There’d Be Cake and let you decide for yourself if you want to become one of her converts:
This book grabbed my heart out of my chest, pulverized it into oblivion, and handed it back to me as if it could ever be the same. Fiction. Narrated by “Death.” Set in Nazi Germany. It describes a young girl’s relationship with her foster parents, the other residents of their neighborhood, and a Jewish fist-fighter who hides in her home during the escalation of World War II.
I can only tell you that I sat in my reading chair, getting to The Critical Parts, and I sobbed like a sobbing, hysterical, inconsolable baby until I thought I would simply die, I would die from sorrow and love. I would die from this perfectly written story and these characters who belonged to me, they were mine, they were my precious people and I was devoted to them. I would perish without them. I was there. In the basement. In the terror. In the bravery. In the devotion. In the sorrow. In the elation.
Gavin told me a few weeks ago: “Mom, I have to read a book this summer for AP English. It’s called The Book Thief. Do you have it?”
And I came unraveled and overreacted and staged a reading schedule and book talk and made my 7th grade daughter read it too and said YES YES YES we will read this together and we will cry and we will be moved and inspired and we will never be the same, and they are reading it right now, and if my kids don’t respond like I need them to, I will be forced to send them to boarding school and pretend like they are not of my blood line.
So there you have it. And for the other emails saying, “You are making us poor with these book recs you’re forcing us to buy. Why do you hate us?” I’ll remind you that all of these gems are in your local library. You can have free awesomeness. Unless, of course, you never return your books on time, and by the time you actually do, you owe more fines that the books actually cost, and your little “money saving initiative” has basically turned into a bill.
I’ve heard of people like this.
Back me up, people. Did you love these books too? What else have you read lately that we just have to know about?