Reviews for I'll Show Myself Out

by Jessi Klein

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

What's so funny about parenting a small boy through the vicissitudes of aging, social media, the pandemic, and toddler risotto? In 22 clever, readable, and whimsically footnoted essays, Klein, an actor and executive producer for Inside Amy Schumer, continues the trajectory of her successful debut, You'll Grow Out of It. In the opening essay, after admitting to being possibly the last person in the civilized world to get wind of Joseph Campbell's mythic "hero's journey," she was possessed by the notion that her trip to the store to pick up teething biscuits was part of a meaningful narrative—complete with a "call to adventure," "unimaginable torment," "superhuman deeds," and a "strangely fluid and polymorphous being” (“my baby”). It takes a certain kind of mind to get this much out of a box of Nom-Noms, and Klein's comedic talent often involves an element of quasi-philosophical unspooling of mundane challenges and passages, often with a certain amount of profanity and all-caps exclamations. In the essay titled "On the Starbucks Bathroom Floor," she describes her struggles with her child’s potty training; in "Listening to Beyoncé in the Parking Lot of Party City," it’s balloons and birthdays; in “Your Husband Will Remarry Five Minutes After You Die," it’s brutal marital realism. "In Defense of Drinking" takes a tough stand on the mommy juice controversy: “I am a better mother because I drink." In "Demon Halloween," Klein confesses failure in the homemade costume department. Sometimes she puts joking aside and gets to the heart of things. "Somewhere between the optimism of pure faith and the letting go of pure Zen lies, I suppose, good parenting….Our children need us, at bare minimum, to not be nihilists, right? We have to believe in something,” she writes. The author clearly believes in family, love, laughter, and a well-placed Xanax—and she's pretty convincing. Frank, free-spirited sass for the modern mother's soul. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.