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I'll Show Myself Out

by Jessi Klein

Book list Comedy writer Klein (You'll Grow Out of It, 2016) expects the haters to come for her when she says tequila makes her a better mom. It's perhaps more likely that admissions like this one will make her a friend to readers of her second essay collection. After revealing her fear of writing about being a mom, Klein reclaims Joseph Campbell's hero's journey as a loose frame for the book. In motherhood, the hero's journey is "not a journey outward, to the most fantastic and farthest-flung places, but inward, downward, to the deepest parts of your strength." Klein writes about mothering her son—potty training him, playing boring games with him, watching "his" (her) pet caterpillar turn into a butterfly—as well as personal stuff like hair loss, body image, marital discord, and missing who she was before she became a mom. Klein isn't here to make motherhood look pretty, but she ends up making it look pretty great in the truest sense of the word, mixing laughs with poignancy and treating heavy topics with a brightening kind of honesty.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Comedian Klein (You’ll Grow Out of It) takes a moving look at motherhood in this bold and irreverent collection. The 22 essays offer a refreshing take on parenthood, mixing brutal honesty, candid emotion, and humor. “Mom Clothes” considers the author’s experience hanging on to baby weight post-labor and “the sheer unending exhaustion” of motherhood, while “The Car Seat” is a heartfelt take on the author’s frustration with car seats, and the loss of self as she sees “Baby on Board” car stickers and wonders why she can’t have one that simply reads “Me on Board.” “Bread and Cheese” is an ode to the insanity of picky eaters: “Of all the childhood behaviors that trigger me... Asher’s refusal to eat is the one that makes me most want to tantrum myself.” “In Defense of Drinking” is a response to anti “Mommy Drinking” sentiment, in which she labels alcohol an “ongoing epidural.” Klein is full of surprises, and moments of hilarity often dissolve into unexpected glimpses of joy: her reminder that “being a parent is a lot like having a dream.... Most of it, even when it’s ugly, is beautiful,” for example, lands with grace. Funny, clever, and full of heart, this one’s a gem. Agent: David Kuhn, Aevitas Creative Management. (Apr.)

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