In 2001 comedian Poundstone was convicted of DWI--with her three adopted children in the car. The court placed the kids in foster care, and for a year Poundstone picked them up from the foster home early each morning, cared for them, brought them back for bedtime, and didn't leave until they were asleep. She sparks this sad but ultimately triumphal story by uproariously comparing and contrasting herself and famous people. For instance, like Joan of Arc, who claimed to hear God, Poundstone "heard God speak to me once. He said, 'You're wearing that?'" Mocking her alcoholism, she recalls the potted purchases of a pet-store bunny and, later, a dog whose temperament resulted from familial alcoholism: his mother went on a binge and mated with a shark, producing a pet that routinely jumps fences to devour cats. Near the end of the book, Poundstone rhetoricizes, "Am I the luckiest woman in the world or what? I have three great kids, and not one of them is at risk of inheriting my pot belly." ((Reviewed September 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist ReviewsReview by Library Journal Reviews
Fans of comedienne Poundstone's witty and bold humor will enjoy this book, which touches on her life mistakes with truth and levity. Poundstone profiles historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Charles Dickens, and the Wright brothers, focusing on the greatness of the famous person in each chapter while injecting her own life lessons into the story. For example, she compares her ability to predict injuries when her kids jump onto furniture to that of Joan of Arc's prophecy of her own battle injury when the French troops defeated the English at Orleans. She also notes that the Wright brothers could not have had children, or they would have never accomplished what they did, and compares this to the idea that children can blast one's purpose like dynamite to a pile of stones. Readers will love the book's offbeat humor and interesting monolog. Highly recommended for public libraries.—Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L., Pittsburgh [Page 72]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
Poundstone makes self-involvement entertaining in her memoir-cum-history, which takes biographical sketches of seven historical figures from Joan of Arc to the Wright brothers as an excuse for a hilarious and sometimes exhausting stream-of-consciousness confessional. She's interested in other people, she explains, it's just that their stories inevitably and uncontrollably trigger her own: "Martin Luther King could come to my house tonight and say, 'I have a dream...' and I'd cut him off and say, 'I had a dream once, too, only in mine....'" Most everything reminds Poundstone of her well-publicized drinking problem. Joan of Arc didn't drive her livestock to pasture while drunk, but if she did they'd "have something in common." Segue to Poundstone being court-ordered on television to attend Alcoholics Anonymous ("That pretty much blows the hell out of the second A"). An explanation of Helen Keller's deafness and blindness is the perfect opportunity for the non sequitur: "God, I loved to drink." But Poundstone deals frankly with the nightmarish results of her alcoholism: she temporarily loses custody of her children, does 180 days in rehab and "was seeing four therapists a week to satisfy the court. Even Sybil didn't see four therapists." (Nov.) [Page 41]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Blending elements of memoir and monologue, the comedian offers a candid, humorous, and touching account of her life, using details from the lives of legendary historical figures to illuminate episodes from her own life and reflecting on her own successes and failures, as well as the incident that nearly destroyed her career. 80,000 first printing.Review by Publisher Summary 2
Blending elements of memoir and monologue, the comedian offers a candid account of her life, using details from the lives of legendary historical figures to illuminate episodes from her own life and reflect on her own successes and failures.Review by Publisher Summary 3
Part memoir, part monologue, with a dash of startling honesty, There’s Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say features biographies of legendary historical figures from which Paula Poundstone can’t help digressing to tell her own story. Mining gold from the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Joan of Arc, and Beethoven, among others, the eccentric and utterly inimitable mind of Paula Poundstone dissects, observes, and comments on the successes and failures of her own life with surprising candor and spot-on comedic timing in this unique laugh-out-loud book.If you like Paula Poundstone’s ironic and blindingly intelligent humor, you’ll love this wryly observant, funny, and touching book.Paula Poundstone on . . .The sources of her self-esteem: “A couple of years ago I was reunited with a guy I knew in the fifth grade. He said, “All the other fifth-grade guys liked the pretty girls, but I liked you.” It’s hard to know if a guy is sincere when he lays it on that thick.The battle between fatigue and informed citizenship: I play a videotape of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer every night, but sometimes I only get as far as the theme song (da da-da-da da-ah) before I fall asleep. Sometimes as soon as Margaret Warner says whether or not Jim Lehrer is on vacation I drift right off. Somehow just knowing he’s well comforts me.The occult: I need to know exactly what day I’m gonna die so that I don’t bother putting away leftovers the night before.TV’s misplaced priorities: Someday in the midst of the State of the Union address they’ll break in with, “We interrupt this program to bring you a little clip from Bewitched.”Travel: In London I went to the queen’s house. I went as a tourist—she didn’t invite me so she could pick my brain: “What do you think of my face on the pound? Too serious?”Air-conditioning in Florida: If it were as cold outside in the winter as they make it inside in the summer, they’d put the heat on. It makes no sense.The scandal: The judge said I was the best probationer he ever had. Talk about proud.With a foreword by Mary Tyler Moore