I found @rachelintheoc on Twitter, recently, as seems to be a developing pattern for my new author finds these days. She’s funny, engaging, and real—there, as on her blog. She was running a pre-Christmas promo to help boost her books’ visibility, and announced on Twitter that she was giving away her book in an effort to drum up some additional reviews. So I bit.
I was facing another trip back East to deal with family issues, and knew I would need something humorous to put me in a relaxed frame of mind. Thompson managed to wring out a few snorts and giggles while my airline struggled to get me airborne, so I will always have fond memories of her ability to push me past my own snarky situation.
Her book’s description is quite apt that way:
Rachel believes “Men are from Seinfeld, Women are from Friends,” and so do her legions of fans. She dares to ask “Why do men want to change the world but can’t change a roll of toilet paper?”
Drawing on her decades (#deargod has it been that long?) of marriage, friendships, and past relationships, Rachel’s specialty is observing male behavior and dissecting it with humor (Shopping is NOT a Verb). Think of her as the Scientist of Snark…without the ugly white lab coat. #asif
Husband: Mumble, mumble, mumble.
Me: It’s okay. I speak husband.
I did have a few complaints early on: several of the early essays struck me as pretty repetitive–as if there hadn’t been enough editing to pull out the similarities in pieces Thompson had blogged about repeatedly. (Yes, I get it, you’ve been married for 18 years.) But if you read it as a bound copy of her blog, highlighting just her best essays, that could also put it all in perspective. Or read it one chapter at a time rather than all in one shot while you’re seat-bound in a ground-bound airplane.
I was also surprised at the regular “poignancy alerts” sprinkled throughout the book. While the book is billed as a humorous take on relations between men and women, Thompson has had her run-ins with abuse and doesn’t shy away from that darker side of relationships. With this theme threading through the essays, you really see her skill for writing:
But was the perfection a blessing? Really? When she showed up with bruises, black eyes, and a broken arm more than once, Jack finally stepped in; thrilled I’m sure to be chivalrous but also trying to help this young girl who had the bod for sin without the brains for sense.
Julia didn’t last very long at our store. She just didn’t show up one day and that was it. The guys were crushed. It was as if the centerfold had been torn off the wall. …
Julia was the kind of girl who would always be able to depend on the help of strangers. She engendered that kind of protectiveness in men that you rarely see in independent women with brains.
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.
I’m saying that’s just the way it is.
This is not my normal fare, or even my favorite genre, but Thompson’s book provided a few hours of witticisms that helped me pass the tedious travel time over the holidays. I can easily recommend it to any man or woman who likes the unvarnished truth and the perspective that having lived through some truly horrifying experiences can grant a perspicacious individual. Above all, this collection of essays illuminates the truth that humor puts everything into perspective, and it’s useful as a tool to help deflate some of the more dangerous misperceptions between the sexes. So: GO. Read, enjoy, and thank me for it (and, of course, Rachel Thompson, too, for having spent the time gathering these pearls of wisdom).