Dark at the Roots: A Memoir

( 6 )

Overview

As a middle child raised middle class and stuck out in the middle of Louisiana, hilarious writer and actress Sarah Thyre often found her in-between existence far less than desirable. Even from a young age, Sarah found ways of shirking her own hated identity — whether by stealing someone else's or lying about her own. She changed her name, claimed to be a great outdoorsman, and solicited donations for her favorite charity — which turned out to be, in fact, her. In addition, Sarah lived through the violent ...

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Dark at the Roots: A Memoir

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Overview

As a middle child raised middle class and stuck out in the middle of Louisiana, hilarious writer and actress Sarah Thyre often found her in-between existence far less than desirable. Even from a young age, Sarah found ways of shirking her own hated identity — whether by stealing someone else's or lying about her own. She changed her name, claimed to be a great outdoorsman, and solicited donations for her favorite charity — which turned out to be, in fact, her. In addition, Sarah lived through the violent struggles between her parents and their often troubled finances, and the stories with which she emerged populate this charming memoir.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Thyre, an actress, fashions a somewhat flat memoir about growing up in the middle-class South of the 1970s. Corny and unfocused, her work ambles episodically, from the early years living with her parents and younger sisters in Kansas City, Mo., where her mother took turns holding the Catholic Prayer Group at their house and mixing up the martinis for Father Don, to their move to the sticks of Louisiana and celebrating their hostile parents' eventual divorce. Thyre as the young narrator is a kid with moxie, known as the "liar in the family" and not above correcting her teacher's grammar. The memoir proceeds by anecdotes (stealing money from their skinflint father's bank account for camp and vacation, managing her asthma medication, watching her mom run over a turtle with the lawn mower, losing her virginity to Tommy Cusimano after her Our Lady of Prompt Succor's Autumn Celebration), but Thyre's writing lacks a cohesion determined by strong, memorable characterization. There are, however, many iconic '70s moments, e.g., listening to "Little Willy" on her mother's Gremlin AM radio, learning about rape from a Barnaby JonesTV episode, reading Paul Zindel books; and experiencing her sexual awakening while watching Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Packed with dippy dialogue and only a little raunchy and irreverent, Thyre's work amuses in small doses. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Witty, mildly raunchy memoir of a precociously perceptive child who grows into a smart and smart-mouthed adolescent. Comedian Thyre (Late Night with Conan O'Brien; Strangers with Candy) uses caricature and exaggeration to create a funny picture of growing up in the 1970s and '80s. At first, she's part of a middle-class Catholic family with a quick-tempered, blue-collar father and an environmentally correct mother, but when her parents divorce, the Thyres slip down a notch or two on the economic scale. To keep up appearances, her resourceful mother resorts to reattaching the same Lacoste alligator to garment after cheap garment. Thyre derives much humor from bodily functions, writing about vomit, asthma attacks, the contents of her sibling's diapers and feminine-hygiene products. Her youthful explorations of pornography and the mental and physical shortcomings of others provide further grist for her humor mill. She has a sharp ear for dialogue and a keen eye for the slights and cruelties that children and adolescents blithely inflict on each other and on the adults around them. Her wit turns what might, in other hands, have been a self-pitying memoir into a bright, amusing story. When shit happens-her father is disappointingly indifferent to her needs, the family vacation ends disastrously-Thyre doesn't bemoan the situation. Rather, she reports it with zest and a twist of wry. Chick-lit with zingers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582433592
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 3/12/2007
  • Pages: 310
  • Sales rank: 1,219,601
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents


This Is What People Do     1
Break Me Off a Piece o' Dat     13
Smell It Like It Is     29
Git in the Truck     43
What Would Mr. Goodbar Do?     61
Oh the Places You'll Go     77
The Hills Are a Lie     79
Choke     95
Rubbing Alcohol and Vaseline     113
Underground Railroad     127
The Center Cannot Hold     145
Top o' the Food Chain     165
Movin' on Up     187
Misty Popularity     211
Creamin' in My Jeans     233
The Bad Seed     261
Say Uncle     281
Acknowledgments     309
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2008

    A reviewer

    All I can say is that I'm a little miffed that I did not beat Sarah Thyre to the punch and write my own memoir of growing up in the South, and in particular, Louisiana. After all, I, too, was born into a peculiar, quirky Catholic family and attended a parochial school also named Our Lady of Prompt Succor, although in a different city, run by sadistic, hirsute Cajun nuns who mastered corporal punishment. I hunted and trapped nutria in bayous and witnessed their hides being flayed from their carcasses, although performed by my brother, not a hayseed boyfriend with a cruel streak. My family often shopped at a convenience store not unlike Pic-a-Pac replete with a cast of colorful characters with IQs matching their inseam measurements. I could go on an on. But this isn't about me. It's about the hilarious, poignant and sometimes shocking adventures of a young, tenacious and sometimes truth-bending girl growing up in a large Catholic family in the Deep South. The writing is crisp and clear as Abita Springs artesian water, and each word is deftly chosen to perfectly capture experiences as seen through the eyes of a young person thrust into an idiosyncratic foreign land--much like Waveland, Mississippi--determined to rise out of the squalor and mediocrity that is endemic to so many families in the state known as Sportsman's Paradise. I found myself laughing out loud not only at the bizarre quandries in which the author and her siblings found themselves trapped, but at the language used to bring these situations into full 1970s Technicolor t.v. brilliance, with a heaping fistful of rabbit-eared antennae static. If you are looking for one of those rare reads that you just cannot put down until the last page is turned with Cheeto-orange stained fingers, Dark at the Roots is one of those rare gems...or rhinestones, depending on where you do your shopping.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2007

    Absolutely Wonderful and Amusing

    Dark at the Roots is a hilarious yet somewhat sad coming of age story of a girl who grew up as 'the family liar'. I don't know how many times I laughed out loud at how Thyre examines the very common but rarely spoken about characteristics of preteen and teenage girls. I highly reccomend this to anyone who wants a book that you just can't put down!

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    Posted November 9, 2008

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    Posted April 6, 2012

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    Posted July 28, 2010

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    Posted October 1, 2012

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