PERFORMING ARTS

Grand

Gallery: S. & S. Aug. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781982102210. $25.99. TV
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In her hilarious and heartbreaking memoir, stand-up comedian and writer Schaefer tells the story of growing up while intermixing chapters that detail a Grand Canyon rafting trip she took with her sister to celebrate the author’s 40th birthday. Although she traveled with all her siblings, this trip into the great wide open Arizona desert sparked a journey that resulted in revisiting painful episodes in her life. Schaefer juxtaposes descriptions about barreling headfirst into dangerous rapids with chapters about how her father’s confession that he had misused his clients’ funds upended the entire family—a deft storytelling choice. Schaefer also shares relatable childhood experiences: insecurity when the girl she thought was her best friend accepts a friendship locket from someone else, the embarrassment of a bad haircut. With humor and humility, Schaefer takes readers into her adulthood, as she dealt with anxiety and depression and walked away from a marriage. Her prose is accessible and immediate, and her audience will eagerly follow along.
VERDICT A perfect read for those who enjoyed Michelle Buteau’s Survival of the Thickest and Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please.

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