Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit after He Split

( 9 )


If you've ever been dumped, duped, or three minutes from crazy, you'll love Crazy Aunt Purl. Side-splittingly funny and profoundly moving, Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair is the true-life misadventures of Laurie Perry, aka Crazy Aunt Purl, a slightly neurotic, displaced Southerner trying to create a new life after her husband leaves her to 'get his creativity back.' (Whatever that means.) But will she get her groove back in a tiny rented apartment, with a mountain of ...

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If you've ever been dumped, duped, or three minutes from crazy, you'll love Crazy Aunt Purl. Side-splittingly funny and profoundly moving, Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair is the true-life misadventures of Laurie Perry, aka Crazy Aunt Purl, a slightly neurotic, displaced Southerner trying to create a new life after her husband leaves her to 'get his creativity back.' (Whatever that means.) But will she get her groove back in a tiny rented apartment, with a mountain of boxes, visible panty lines, and a slight wine-and-Cheetos problem?

"I was a thirty-something woman living alone with four cats. I was probably going to be divorced. I was on the short bus to crazy. I pictured my grandmother making hoop-skirted yarn cozies for the toilet paper. I pictured myself making doilies for furniture that I did not own. I saw my cats wearing knitted hats with lace appliqués. From my vantage point, knitting seemed like 100 percent of some road I did not want to walk down."

Yet, surprisingly, it's knitting that saves her and emboldens her to become fully engaged in life again--to discover new friends; to take risks, however scary; and to navigate the ins and outs of the modern dating scene.

"Dating has changed in a decade. Now there is a higher chance of meeting someone who has an internet porn addiction than someone who has a job. In Los Angeles, your dinner companion might have served time in Pelican Bay or run a meth lab. Or, worst of all, he might spend all night talking about his agent, his craft, and what it means to grow as an actor. Then he'll ask you to read his screenplay."

And such is life in this quirky, irreverent memoir, a spin-off of the blog phenomenon,, one of the most successful online diaries in history, exploding to an international fan base of enthusiastic readers. But don't worry, you don't have to knit to love Aunt Purl. You just have to know what it feels like to have loved, to have lost, or to have taken a leap of faith. We've all been there: Pass the wine.

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Editorial Reviews

Drew Emborsky

"Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair is – surprise – not just for women. A heart-wrenching mix of sadness and humor, any man who has experienced a broken heart will relate to the story of Laurie's divorce, the death of a marriage, and the re-entry into single life. As men, we will not fully understand the humor of hair removal, perhaps, but her themes are resonant for all people, men and women, who've had love and loss and laughed in between."

– Drew Emborsky, author of Men Who Knit & The Dogs Who Love Them

Annie Modesitt

“Poignant, funny and something every woman will relate to, whether or not she’s been divorced, whether or not she knits, whether or not she finds herself covered in cat hair ‘from the knees down.’ My only criticism – I didn’t want it to end!”

– Annie Modesitt, author of Twist And Loop and Romantic Hand Knits

Knit.1 magazine
"Watch out, Bridget Jones: There's a new singleton in town, and she's got needles! This hilarious book chronicles the life of a newly divorced woman, as she struggles, dates, and knits her way back to sanity."

-- Knit.1 magazine

Publishers Weekly

Perry, a 33-year-old, Southern-born transplant to L.A., was shocked when her husband announced he was leaving her. Granted, he was more a "safe sedan" than a sports car, but she wasn't ready to be single. Perry started avoiding people for fear of crying in front of them and put on pounds with her divorce diet, 60% wine and 40% jalapeño potato chips and French fries. Fortunately, a friend insisted she try knitting, and Perry got hooked. Knitting not only kept her hands busy but it was reassuring: "No matter what the mistake, you could always go back and make it better." She discovered a weekly get-together of smart and funny knitters, women who weren't just focused on finding male companionship. Slowly, Perry learned how to live without the marital safety net, enjoy her girlfriends and start dating in the brave new text-messaging, e-mailing world. Women suffering from bumpy divorces will find comfort in the self-deprecating humor and easy knitting patterns that have made Perry's "Crazy Aunt Purl" blog so popular. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780757305917
  • Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/15/2007
  • Pages: 284
  • Sales rank: 407,788
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Perry knits and writes in Los Angeles, where she chronicles her daily life on her online diary, the Crazy Aunt Purl blog. "Crazy Aunt Purl" has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and on Perry has written for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Winter Haven News Chief in Winter Haven, Florida. Her original short story "Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair" was published in a collection of knitting-themed essays called Cheaper Than Therapy.
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Read an Excerpt

There are three rules every Southern girl has hammered into her consciousness, and they shape you and haunt you until the day you die.

Cardinal Rule Number One: Mind your manners.

This is of course the most important rule, especially early on in your upbringing, as it applies to everything from 'watch your mouth' to 'mind your elders,' and encompasses all forms of behavior from 'elbows off that table rightnow' to 'do not look at me in that tone of voice.' As you get on up in years you learn to mind your manners by not pitching a hissy fit when a smile and firm but pleasant tone will do, and by always being strong and kind, and of course you never smoke standing upright or while wearing your sorority pin. Because that is just tacky.

Cardinal Rule Number Two: Make the best of a situation.

When delivered by your Uncle Truman or a male teacher or your softball coach, this rule can sound like 'Keep your chin up' or 'Put your game face on.' Sometimes there's a bait-and-switch approach, where you may have (in a moment of weakness) confessed some sad or upsetting thing to a willing human listener, and they reply back with a long, often horribly detailed story of the so-and-so girl who faces a far worse and more disastrous situation than you yourself could even imagine, which I suppose is meant to make you feel better about your own pathetic sob story but on me has the opposite effect.

Cardinal Rule Number Three: Always wear clean panties.

This particular gem was amended by my mother when I was sixteen, as she warned me in no uncertain terms to always wear clean panties and keep them on.

These rules presented for me a dilemma of decorum at the best of times and a true test of character at the worst of times. My comportment was once again in the crosshairs on the day this story begins, a day like any other, really, a completely normal day.

Although I was a married woman of thirty-three years of age living in cosmopolitan Los Angeles, California, and working in a downtown skyscraper (I work at a bank, but it sounds more glamorous to say downtown skyscraper), quite a remarkable departure from my small-town roots, I was now facing the trifecta of Southern Cardinal Rules, brought on by a rather strange and airy sensation in the back regions of my gray pinstripe skirt.

I felt a draft. Back there.

Today, the day of my inconvenient new rear-facing air-conditioning system, was a day of precarious underwear selection. While I had every intention of going home that very evening and facing Mount Washmore, the laundry pile in my bedroom closet, I was currently Making The Best Of Things. The wash-day panties I was wearing were nothing more than a string holding together some cotton, and not only was it an unfortunate thong-style contraption, it had the novelty of being green and red because I was on my Christmas undies. I had not embarked upon any lunchtime calisthenics, or lobbed kung fu kicks on my coffee break, or done anything, really, aside from sit on my ass in an air-conditioned office and Look Busy. Graphic designers at financial institutions do not have physically vexing jobs. But as soon as I stood up to stretch, I felt it—yes—a definite draft.

First I performed the not-so-subtle maneuver of slightly pulling my skirt to the left and craning my head back to see if I could spot the damage. Nothing.

A quick recon mission with my hands told me all I needed to know: my skirt had distinctly more air-conditioning in the backyard than it had this morning when I pulled it on. Sans panty hose. Meaning, at any moment my Christmas-themed under-things could be exposed to the cruel office air, in August, and also, this was maybe not the sort of impression I wanted my coworkers to have of me.

I stood in my cubicle and considered the alternatives. No sewing kit, so there's that. No safety pins either. I started for a moment toward the tape dispenser, but let's be honest here: no amount of Scotch tape in the world could keep my ample behind encased in pinstripes. So I did the only thing I could think of, and with my heavy black corporate stapler in hand, I crab-walked demurely through the hallway into the ladies' room. I moved pretty quickly considering all the wind rustling in the eaves behind me, desperately hoping not to run into any chatty or curious or breathing coworkers who might wonder why I had to take my stapler to the restroom with me.

I made it into the ladies' room without running into anyone, locked myself into the stall (the big one, of course, better for maneuvering), and stripped off my skirt to perform the necessary stapling surgery on the back seam.

One might imagine that sitting with staples up your backside for the rest of the workday would not be a particularly comfortable thing to do. One would be right. But that's what I did for the rest of that afternoon, squirming as little as possible, wondering if I were up-to-date on my tetanus shots, wondering if I could actually drink a glass of wine the size of my head when I got home, wondering if my mother had envisioned this very scenario when she advised keeping my panties on. I doubted it.

I drove home that night, a normal night like any other, tired, staples pressing into the backs of my thighs. It was a Thursday, and I sat in traffic trying to decide what to make me and my husband Charlie for dinner. Spaghetti? Baked chicken? Meat loaf? He had very particular tastes when it came to eating, nothing with sauce (except pasta), chunks, or garnishes. No salads and no vegetables besides fried or mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, and (surprisingly) peas. During the first year of our marriage this seemed unusually cruel for a new, young wife who couldn't cook.

'So you'll eat tomato sauce, like on pizza or pasta, but not actual tomatoes?'



Somewhere around year four, I rose to the challenge and began to see cooking as an experiment in creativity: what could I prepare, with my limited skills and his limited palate, that would be edible and also pass the Picky Test?

That night, I walked through the door, said hi to my husband, 'Hey! Howwasyourday, I got staples in my behind, be right back,' scratched a cat on the head, and stripped off my poor mangled skirt. I made dinner—-spaghetti after all. Charlie liked it with extra Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, and we sat eating it at the table on a Thursday night just like any other. And that is when my husband told me he was leaving.

And then he did.

And that is where this story begins.

© 2007. Laurie Perry. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair: The True-Life Misadventures of a 30-Something Who Learned to Knit After He Split. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

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Table of Contents

Introduction     ix
Tightly Wound     1
Unraveling     39
Joining Pieces Together     85
Knitting Recipes     195
The Basic Beginner Scarf     199
Beginner Scarf #2     200
Magic Scarf     201
Giant Pom-Pom Scarf     205
Faux Lacy Scarf     207
Easy Roll-Brim Hat     210
Cat Tunnel     217
Wide-Rib Brim Hat     221
Easy Felted Bracelet Bag     226
Flower Pom-Pom     232
Stashbuster Flower     234
Hand-Knit Handbag     236
Devil Baby Blanket     238
Sexy Shawl     245
Cabled Bucket Bag     250
Acknowledgments     255
Book Club Discussion Questions     257
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Three Minutes From Laughter

    The author describes herself as being three minutes from crazy, but that's more how the people in my office were describing ME, as I read the book on my lunch hour and howled with laughter like a cartoon lunatic.

    Pure fun. Even if you're not a knitter, you will still love this book. And if you ARE a knitter, you'll probably love it more, AND be able to make some really cute stuff.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    The Title Sounded So Good....but

    the story left much to be desired! I hate to say it because based on the title, cover, and reviews I really wanted this to be a great read, but it was definately not. The knitting projects in the back of the book looked great, but the stories throughout were not funny at all, nothing like I had hoped they were going to be. It was kind of boring for the most part.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2008


    I related to her on so many levels. I've never been divorced, but I've definately been dumped, drunk and covered in cat/dog hair. This book was spot on and hilarious at the same time. I can relate to almost every page. The only difference is I took up crochet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2007


    Lighthearted fast, fun read. Especially enjoyable if you are currently going through a divorce.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2007

    Cast off with Purl

    Humorous, poignant, honest, and just a little bit loony 'in a good Southern way'. Laurie 'Crazy Aunt Purl to her loyal and devoted blog readers' combines all of the above into a highly-readable, head-nodding, twang-tinged adventure that transforms her life.

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    Posted April 1, 2010

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    Posted June 7, 2012

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    Posted January 4, 2009

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    Posted October 21, 2010

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