Monday, December 30, 2013

My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places by Mary Roach

Reviewed by Kristin

Mary Roach is one of those humorous writers who could probably make reading the phone book funny.  This collection of “My Planet” columns previously published in Reader’s Digest is good for everything from a little chuckle to outright cackling, if you identify strongly with some of the “issues” she tackles.

I have to admit that it was the “Reader’s Digest” on the cover that made me pick up this one.  I have always enjoyed the humorous anecdotes in the sections “Life in These United States” and “Laughter, the Best Medicine”.  Since my previous experience with Mary Roach was seeing the covers of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, a collection of funny columns sounded great to me.

Interactions with her husband Ed are prime material for Mary’s columns.  New remote control for the satellite dish?  Yep, Mary is going to write about the challenges of programming the remote.  Home repair?  Ed shows up as “Mr. Fix-It-Later”.  Number of pillows on the bed?  Pre-rinse dishes for the dishwasher?  Place the sofas facing the television, or in a “conversational” grouping?  You can be sure that Mary and Ed have different opinions on all of those things.

Mary has a talent for looking at mundane happenings and turning them into quirky stories.  Going to the drug store to look for a cold remedy turns into a treatise on The Wall of Cold Remedies, the frightening array of choices that a sick, often stuffy-headed person must face.  Figuring out what to do with your various plastic storage containers—Mary and Ed have faced The Container Store together.

If you live on this planet and would enjoy a little humor to spice up your day, check out My Planet.

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