Not So Funny Monday with Rachel Dratch’s “Girl Walks Into a Bar…Comedy Calamities & a Midlife Miracle”

Rachel Dratch is another actress in the world of comedy, appearing  on Saturday Night Life and 30 Rock. Dratch has also appeared in many movies including Just Go With It, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and Click. In addition, she provides the voices of Koi and Esmargot in the show Fish Hooks. I’m fairly sure that most people have seen her at least once on television or in a movie. When I learned that she had written a book, I was really excited and started thinking that this could be a “sister” to Tina Fey’s Bossypants. Boy was I wrong.

Rachel Dratch

Rachel Dratch

Dratch’s book is written in a similar style as Bossypants: autobiographical in chronological order with attempts at humor mixed in. While Dratch has obviously had success in the T.V. and movie industry, she might want to stay out of the book industry if she wants to continue getting laughs. I think it’s very difficult to write humor that people can really laugh at and I don’t think Dratch has what it takes.

I started to have a bad feeling in the first chapter where Dratch writes about her absence from television, specifically 30 Rock. While I can certainly understand wanting to clear the air or set the record straight as to why she isn’t on the show anymore, I really thought that a comedienne would throw in some humor. Not so much. There were lines that made me smile but disappointingly, never did I laugh out loud.

“Girl Walks Into a Bar…” has a number of chapters, all with individual titles but after reading them the book could essentially be broken into two parts: Pre-Eli and Post-Eli. Eli is Dratch’s son. The “Pre-Eli” section is dedicated to Dratch’s feelings on other people’s babies, baby showers and her belief that she’s too old to have children. While I can sympathize with the frustration of baby “stuff” everywhere when you don’t have a child, I certainly don’t think it’s a great idea to write about it in a book that is supposed to be funny.

The “Post-Eli” (and longest) section is the story of Dratch’s pregnancy, the confusion of her relationship with Eli’s father and how she became one of those mothers that she was so irritated with in the beginning of the book. This part of the book has a few laughs and brought some insight infto Dratch’s life since leaving the public eye.

Before I close, I must point out Dratch’s unresolved dissonance that I was so upset with at the end of the book. In the beginning of “Girl Walks Into a Bar…,” Dratch explains that she’s very tired of being type-cast as an old, overweight, unattractive lesbian. She sets out to change this before accepting more roles or auditions. However, near the end of the book, Dratch receives a phone call from her agent asking if she’d like to play yet another old, overweight, unattractive lesbian. And she actually says yes! I know women have to work especially hard in this field but why settle for something you don’t want to do? Seems a little “sell-out-ish” to me.

In closing, I would urge you to spend your money on a different book. Especially one that is funny, uplifting and exciting! Why not try picking up a copy of Bossypants or anything by Chelsea Handler?

Enjoy and keep reading!

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Friday Fun with Tina Fey’s “Bossypants!”

Tina Fey has become an icon of comedy in recent years. From her Sarah Palin impression on Saturday Night Live to the hilarious, often neurotic Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, Fey has created quite a name and empire for herself. Although I’m not a serious follow of Fey’s work, I did enjoy the few episodes of 30 Rock and SNL that I saw and figured that I would give her book Bossypants a try. I’m so happy that I did!

Bossypants is sort of an autobiography/memoir of Fey’s life with each chapter designated to the “big” events or lessons learned throughout her life. She shares some embarrassing moments including her first period and the angst that so many teenage girls experience, but all with hilarious stories that made me laugh and cringe at the same time. The book covers Tina Fey’s life to present time and her interesting insight to life makes it easy to see how she became such a success.

I am quite sure that everyone can relate to at least one chapter of this book which is another reason why it’s such a great read. From first loves, new jobs, new cities and weight issues to honeymoons, in-laws and new babies, I just throughly enjoyed every single story that Fey told and found myself excited to keep reading! Although I don’t have any children, I think my favorite chapter in the book was “The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter.” In this chapter, Fey writes a poem of hopes, dreams and cautions for her children using all of her own life experiences. It’s actually quite touching with a sprinkle of humor.

In closing, I absolutely loved this book! It’s not often that I find books that make me laugh out loud but Fey’s writing did just that from page one to the very end. It also reminded me that whether we’re rich and famous, or just “regular” people, we all go through the same life events and the most important thing is how we react to them.

To review and purchase “Bossypants,” use the link below (Amazon.com):
Bossypants

One for the Grown-Ups

My next review will cover the book entitled “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity” written by the, in my opinion, great Katherine Boo.

Before I begin my actual review, I would like to start with a quick disclaimer. This book is not for the faint of heart nor for those who believe that all books should conclude with a happy ending tied up with a pretty little bow. If those are the things you’re seeking, you may want to skip this read. However, if you’re interested in the lives of those much, much difference and in many ways, worse than nearly everyone in America or those who have a general interest in different religions and lifestyles around the world, this could be the selection for you.

“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” is the account of journalist Katherine Boo as she spends three years living amongst the poorest in the world. Her work is based in the slums of Mumbai, India; more specifically Annawadi. Annawadi is a makeshift community where the families featured in the book build their homes. Strangely enough, Annawadi is set in the shadows of some of the most luxurious hotels of India and the airport, where the poor citizens watch as the wealthy leave the sadness of Annawadi behind.

As you can imagine, the densely populated slums do not offer much in the way of jobs, housing, food or education. While people living in the slums dream of such luxuries, acquiring them is another story. Unfortunately that story involves greed, corruption and crime. With so few opportunities for so, so many people, competition is fierce in the worse sense of the word. Fights, suicides and murder are common in these communities. As Boo witnessed some of these atrocities first-hand, she is well-educated and brutally honest regarding the horrors of living in Mumbai through her writing.

Boo follows the lives of a few different families during her time in Mumbai. Knowing that this extremely well-written author experienced real life in this rough lifestyle, her writing is all the more believable and frightening. As a writer for The New Yorker, Boo’s book is not for someone looking for a quick read. The book as well as the very real people in the book, deserve the reader’s undivided attention. And frankly without it, you will miss the subtleties that are crucial to trying to understand the complexities of a world most of us will never experience.

Personally, I would recommend this great read to those with an open mind, willing to let that mind go, sometimes, to dark places. If more people read and appreciated books like these, I’d like to believe we’d keep judgments to ourselves and realize that in essence, we are all striving for the same things.

“Behind the Beautiful Forevers” is a new favorite of this writer. I recommend it when friends are looking for something real and raw – a book that speaks of and to humanity. Like I said, don’t expect a happy ending. Instead, prepare for a gritty, honest, straight to the point writing that will leave you more knowledgeable and much, much more appreciative. If this book does not leave you feeling appreciative for what you have, nothing ever will. Embrace this treasure for all that it is.

Until next time, keep reading!

To review and purchase “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity,” use the link below (Amazon.com):
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity