Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation

Ballantine. Mar. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781984819789. $28. MEMOIR
In this memoir/humorous collection of essays, award-winning stand-up comic Gadsby reflects on pop culture, feminism, and her sudden rise to stardom, all via the irreverent yet thought-provoking musings she’s known for. Fans of Gadsby’s and those new to her work will find themselves laughing along as she recounts awkward red-carpet moments with candor and occasional confusion. Similar to her groundbreaking comedy specials Douglas and Nanette, Gadsby’s memoir reads like a conversation with a longtime friend—in this case, one who’s still adjusting to her relationship with comedy and her diagnoses of autism and ADHD as an adult. The memoir jumps between times and places as the comedian recalls her childhood in Australia as the youngest of five children and her difficulty making friends. Her writing particularly comes alive when she nostalgically looks back at childhood (especially the influence of her parents) and at her unconventional path to comedy after studying art history and finding humor in the unknown. Gadsby also discusses support from her queer fans that allowed her, as a queer comic, to feel safe in front of an audience.
VERDICT A can’t-miss memoir that will make readers laugh, cry, and everything in between.
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