Amazon.com; $15.20I've been writing for CafeMom for a couple months now, and I think I've been very restrained in not having mentioned that in the early '90s, when I was trying to be a stand-up comic, I hung out with several now-famous people, including, and most awesomely, Sarah Silverman.
It's easy for people to get bitter when their former colleagues make it, but let me be perfectly clear: Sarah was always funnier than me. Plus, she was kind, encouraging, and focused (while I was a mess, constantly bouncing between guys, which interfered with my nightly ritual of traveling from open-mike to open-mike to $20 gig to open-mike). And now she has a book out, for which she reportedly got a $2.5 million advance.
My opinion? She earned it in the first chapter.
I don't want to give away too much of a spoiler, but this is a mom site, and I know how we're more sensitive than most. So I'll say the book opens with a bit of family history, some swearing, and a SIDS crib death, which I assure you Silverman manages to weave together perfectly so that you get an incredibly touching, complete, hilarious, and painful portrait of a stand-up comic.
The next chapter chronicles her humiliating years as a chronic bedwetter (and gets her a little revenge, as she has some salty epithets set aside for certain adults who didn't handle the situation with compassion or tact). In the next, she reveals that while I thought she was totally focused, she was also having crazy boyfriend adventures, but somehow managed to continue doing comedy -- possibly because her boyfriend was Dave Atell, while I settled in with a noncomic, pot-smoking ectomorph and switched to improv. (You know what they say: The difference between a stand-up comic and an improviser is an intact family. Guess what: Sarah Silverman's parents are divorced. Thanks for staying married, Mom and Dad.)
The point is, a lot of stuff happened to her. Most of it isn't really tragic, but a lot of it troubling. Her parents made decisions based completely on love and concern, and some were great and others were disastrous. But while many celebrity autobiographies seem to depend on revelations of deeply disturbing family history, Silverman's life comes across as relatably normal, even when she's talking about missing almost a year of high school due to depression. She's not looking to be the saddest monkey in the room. She's looking to connect, and that's the hallmark of a really good writer.
Bottom line: Even if you're not all that into her TV show and you haven't caught up with Jesus Is Magic, pick up the book. I honestly don't see how anyone wouldn't love Silverman's laser-sharp views of childhood, parenting, and growing up funny.