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A Hilarious Book

A Hilarious Book

For the past week, I’ve spent every night in bed…

…reading You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein and laughing until I fall asleep. Klein, a stand-up comic and the head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, published a collection of real-life essays about navigating sex, life and relationships. She is like your hilarious older cousin who comes to visit and tells you everything you need to know about being a woman — including awkward dating stories and why she hates baths and how she got her cool job.

What struck me most about her book was how you recognize her frustrations and observations, yet now instead of feeling alone, you feel initiated into a group of smart, funny women. “I think for a very long time, including now, there has been this view that writing about the details of women’s lives feels somehow more trivial than writing by men,” Klein told New York Magazine. “And I think that’s a really toxic view to internalize. I think the details of women’s lives are as important as anything in all of literature.”

Here are a few of the many lines that made me laugh out loud…

On the secrets of being a woman: Being a woman usually means you are born with a vagina and after that you’ll probably grow boobs and most likely pretty soon after that you’ll have long hair because it’s no secret that men are pretty non-negotiable about that, except for the times when some Frenchwoman with an insanely long neck pulls it off and a certain segment of men who are open to being a little different go fucking bananas for her.

On having a type: Body-type-wise, I would describe my sweet spot as someone who is trying a little bit to be in shape but is failing miserably… Sartorially, I like guys who wear T-shirts and old canvas sneakers and generally look like they are incapable of taking care of another human being. My ideal partner looks like he was on the way to the Laundromat and got caught in a rainstorm, and then got drunk and fell asleep.

On the word ma’am: Ma’am is doubly insulting because we hear men being called sir all day. And sir is awesome. We long for sir. Sir is what knights are and what Paul McCartney is. Sir sounds like you are sitting at a castle round table eating a rack of lamb. Sir means you are respected and maybe a little bit feared. No one fears ma’am, except in the sense that they may be worried oh no what if this ma’am starts hitting on me, then what will I do?

On the Bachelor: I have developed an elaborate fantasy of joining the show as a contestant myself, but in a very special Bachelor season where… the entire roster of women is composed of women like me: Jewish girls with glasses in their thirties who went to liberal arts colleges. My fantasy begins with our arrival at the house to meet “The” Bachelor. We each pull up in our big fancy limos, but instead of emerging bedecked in some kind of goddess evening gown, all of us are wearing big sweaters and Dansko clogs. And instead of greeting the Bachelor with big sexy hugs, every single one of us is awkward and offers a handshake while saying, “Can we all just acknowledge this is so nuts?”

On pregnancy: In my contact with other pregnant women, or women who had had kids, there did feel sometimes like this game of one-upmanship that would be happening around just how holistic and perfect a birth anyone could have. That idea of like, “I’m going to give birth at home.” “Well, I’m going to give birth at home in a giant bowl of lentil soup that has been made from organic lentils that I bought at Whole Foods.” “Well, I’m just going to give birth at Whole Foods.” It just felt like there’s this contest. (From NPR)

A Hilarious Book

Have you read You’ll Grow Out of It? I highly recommend it.

P.S. Five big spring books, and being a feminist.

(Photo by Stella Blackmon for Cup of Jo.)

  1. I’m almost finished. It’s make me laugh out loud and I’m on a bus! She really captures the girl-to-woman-to girl-to adult ratio of life. It’s what it feels like when no one is watching and when you’re really watching yourself. Thanks for the rec.

  2. Kali says...

    Loved the podcasts, thanks for the tip! She sounds similar to Amy at times but yet very much her own personality. I found myself rooting for the Charlie Brown dress hard. ;)

  3. Alina says...

    I loled like 5 times just reading this post.

  4. AnneL says...

    Yes! Finished it this weekend and loved it.
    She digs a bit deeper and reveals just a bit more than many of the other female comedy memoirs.

  5. Lauren says...

    I finished it last night. Loved every second of it…and laughed out loud in the more cathartic way. Also, I’d put it down around the house only to find my husband, or mother in law, or friend would pick it up, start reading at any random page and belly laugh in the most contagious way. Jessi Klein is amazing…I will read anything she writes.

  6. Ali says...

    I cut 13″ off of my hair on February (into a pixie cut) and my husband and pretty much every woman I come across loves it. I am often commended for being “so brave.” I don’t fully understand that “compliment” but am glad that I can take a stand against societal norms for women. I love my hair and will never go back!

    • i chopped off 18″ almost 3 years ago and i haven’t been able to go back to longer locks, i keep chopping every 6-8 weeks on the dot.
      i IM’d my husband and said “please always be in the segment of men who’s open to being a little different and be bananas for me, even though i’m not french or have an insanely long neck.”

    • I’ve been rocking a pixie cut forever and men love it. In fact, my guy friends tell me all the time they like my short hair better than my long hair and I had beautiful long hair. I think the belief that men only like long hair is an antiquated idea.

      What looks good on you, looks good on you. People will respect whatever that look is.

  7. Julia says...

    The Show would probably end with the “Chosen” one refusing and the Bachelor desperately looking for any candidate willing to accept his ” proposal”.

  8. Elisabeth says...

    PLEASE can someone produce her version of The Bachelor? Not a fan of the show, but hers I would watch/livetweet/host screening parties.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha me too!!

  9. Arielle says...

    I just got the audible and I’m listening to it now. Thanks for the tip!

  10. This sound amazing, thank you for the recommendation.

    And I would also eagerly tune into that season of The Bachelor.

  11. Awads says...

    I love jessie Klein! Heard her on “Fresh Air” last week and just fell in love! I do disagree with “Ma’am”, though. It totally instills fear in most people, but they probably have to be southerners. In any case, she deserves every bit of success coming to her! Can’t wait to read the book!

  12. Dorothy says...

    My three year old son calls me sir!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg hahaha anton called me “sir” yesterday when we were playing restaurant.

  13. Valerie says...

    Did you hear her tell a short story on the podcast The Moth? It was hilarious! Now I need to read her book!

  14. OMG I just downloaded this book to listen to while training for the marathon, and I couldn’t be more excited.

  15. Oooh! I’ve been looking for a book to take on my beach vacation, and none of the recs I’ve been getting have sounded like the right fit. I think this might be it! Thanks, Joanna!

  16. I heard an interview with her on NPR maybe two weeks ago about this book. The skit they played about genital herpes had me laughing so hard! I agree there is a competition about being a mother. I had to leave a “message board” because one woman took her baby in a jogging stroller when she was 5 days old and I said “um you might want to check with her doctor, I don’t think her neck is strong enough to do that yet.” Holy canoli, the moderator was sending me messages saying how she was SURE the woman loved her baby and how dare I suggest she is endangering her. When was pregnant almost every conversation with a medical professional went like this “Hi, my name is Nina and I’ll be getting an epidural.” The joke was on me though when I had TWO and neither did anything except to lower my BP dangerously…sigh…felt the whole thing. which is way cool…who knew how cool it would be to feel your baby come out of your body like that but still I FELT THE WHOLE THING!

  17. I saw the review of this book on NYT and put it on hold in my library. It’ll be a while till it’s finally my turn, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Currently reading The Nest. Not sure why it was SO loved by so many people. I’m finding it just alright.

    • Betty says...

      i totally agree with you about The Nest…I found after reading it, I wanted something with a lot more substance!

  18. This book looks truly hilarious. I hope it’s available in the UK, if so, I’ll definitely have a read! The sections you picked out really made me smile.

  19. Ashley says...

    I just finished this book as well and loved it! Not only was it hilarious, but so much of it resonated so strongly with me. I particularly liked the Emmy chapter and how everyone, no matter who they are, is experiencing some type of FOMO/”I wish I was there not here” feeling. So true! And such a great thing to keep in mind when you are feeling down on yourself or envious of someone else. Comparison is the thief of joy!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, so true! a great thing to remember.

  20. Liz says...

    I just finished this the other night and couldn’t agree more–it was wonderful. I have read a lot of books written by comediennes and this was hands down my favorite. I’ve been recommending it to everyone!

  21. Lauren E. says...

    I would watch the sh*t out of that Bachelor.

  22. I’ve been looking for a good female-written memoir (in the vein of Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, etc. ) and can’t wait to read this! Just ordered it : )

  23. Stacey says...

    I downloaded the audiobook, and it makes me laugh so hard during my commute (in the car, alone) that I probably look insane. So good though! If you like this book, I also think you’ll like I Know What I’m Doing (and Other Lies I Tell Myself) by Jenn Kirkman. Another great, honest, funny read.

  24. I’d never heard of Jessi Klein but now I’ll have to give this a read. Love the dust cover too!

  25. This book sounds hysterical. I am going to it it. I love a bit of female wit. Pen xx

  26. Rissie says...

    Yes!! I just finished it last night and laughed until the end!

  27. erica says...

    she rocks! i would love to see a beauty uniform on her!

    xo

  28. lc says...

    i love and have loved your blog for years, but one thing always bothers me…when you link a book to an online store, why always link to amazon? there are so many great other options, like powells, abe, etc.

    (yes i know you can select different buying options, many of which are independent bookstores, but amazon just gives me the creeps!)

    (ps i ordered this book from my local bookstore and can’t wait!)

    • I’m sure she gets a percentage of the sale if you buy from Amazon through their affiliate program. So I always think, “I’m supporting Cup of Jo” when I buy through one of her Amazon links, which makes me feel good. :)

  29. Julie says...

    I started the book tonight… had to put it down multiple times while reading the chapter on baths because I was shaking too hard from laughing! Thanks for the recommendation!

  30. Natalie Brennan says...

    Thank you for the suggestion! I just finished The Vacationers, and I have been looking for my next summer read.

  31. Loved her interview on The New York Times Book Review podcast. Can’t wait to read this!

  32. Cynthia says...

    I’ve seen it advertised and I do want to read it! I liked her remark about long hair, as I’ve never really had long hair-maybe a bit past my shoulders a couple of times. My hair is so hot in the summer I would shave it all off if I could get by with it.

  33. Putting this on my list immediately! Thank you so much!

  34. Looks like a fun read…now I just need to find the time to read! That sounds terrible, however summer with the twins home = no mommy me time (I’m lucky I get to go potty by myself)! Thanks for sharing.

    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea
    http://www.jeansandatea.com

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hear you!! i don’t think i read a book for the first couple years of new motherhood… other than the sleepeasy solution ;)

    • My youngest is two and I just started reading again! It’s bliss!

  35. Christie says...

    This looks fantastic, thanks for recommending! Can’t wait to read it (I’m wearing Dansko clogs right now, lol!!).

  36. Pre-ordered this books months ago, got it in the mail on the day it came out (bless up, Amazon Prime) and the world’s ridiculous way of torturing me is that this week is the busiest week I’ve maybe ever had in my entire life thanks to three of my best friends all getting married within a one week range. This book has been staring me in the face on my nightstand for the last few days and I am itching to dive in the minute I can sit down for more than 1 minute.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha i know the feeling!

  37. Brittany says...

    I just listened to Jessi on The Moth Podcast and I can’t wait to read this! She’s so fun!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh thanks for the tip!! am going to look up her talk now.