I Curse You with Joy

Diversion. May 2024. 248p. ISBN 9781635769531. $28.99. HUMOR
Actress and comedian Haddish offers an uproarious, raunchy, and uplifting second memoir (after The Last Black Unicorn), in which her stated goal is to turn her own personal pain into laughs. Episodic in approach, the book jumps from Haddish’s tumultuous childhood as the daughter of a mother with mental illness and an absentee father, to her adult success as a stand-up comic and actor. Throughout this book, she discusses her experiences with illiteracy, fractured relationships, and being unhoused. She also describes how she has sustained her career in comedy. The highlight of this memoir is Haddish’s recollections of her rekindled relationship with her Eritrean-born father; she portrays him as a flawed but loving man who never doubted her talent and humanity. She also showcases her career highlights, including her breakout role in Girls Trip and becoming the first Black woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.
VERDICT This memoir is not about Hollywood or gossip; it’s about being human and embracing grace and empathy toward family and self. Haddish makes room for jokes about sex and bodily functions and provides plenty of laughs and heart in this ribald, raw, and candid memoir.
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