From the Publisher
"I love Heather Havrilesky's work, and have been reading her for years. She's smart, hilarious, unique-just terrific." --Anne Lamott
"Heather Havrilesky's memoir nails the sheer life-or-deathness of the Very Important Things in a suburban kid's world with a shticky self-awareness of how very unimportant they turn out to be." --Elle
"A thoroughly enjoyable exploration of one woman's experience dodging disasters real and imaginary... Havrilesky is unafraid to guide us through her most intimate memories of childhood, motherhood, and everything in between." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Havrilesky takes her own life as the subject... with brutal honesty, a sense of humor, and a willingness to forgive." --The Paris Review Daily
"Finely observed... her tales of feeling like an outsider... have the warmth and familiarity of an old friend." --Salon
"Heather Havrilesky's memoir Disaster Preparedness is about board games, inappropriate boyfriends, Star Wars, kickball, Amy Carter and chain stores - but it's also about life and death, and love and loss. I thought it was great." --AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically and The Guinea Pig Diaries
"Heather Havrilesky captures the weird, chaotic, innocent-but-also-jaded, sweet- but-also-kind-of-rancid essence of childhood in the 1970s. And if that's not enough, she takes us-hilariously, painfully, utterly relatably-through the entropy of being a teenager in the 1980s. At once sharp and tender, Disaster Preparedness both laments and salutes what it means to belong to a family- and indeed an entire culture-that seems inherently unmoored."--Meghan Daum, author of My Misspent Youth and Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House
Generic family memoir about growing up in North Carolina in the 1970s.
ForSalonstaff writer Havrilesky, as for most, childhood was a mix of ups and downs. The youngest of three, she was at the mercy of her older brother and sister—though, despite claims to the contrary, the abuse seemed to stop at minor offenses, like serving her an unappetizing cocktail of tomato juice and seltzer. Her parents' fights and eventual divorce were a major turning point in the author's childhood, invoking an understandable amount of instability, fear and strange vacations with other families who had different ways of looking at things. Adolescence came with the usual angst and awkwardness—a shining example of which was when she lost her virginity to a Paul Bunyan wannabe who was secretly pining after her best friend, and who, much to Havrilesky's shagrin, told the entire school about their tryst, which came back to haunt her even years later at a reunion. Finally, when her siblings had shipped off to college, the author looked forward to quiet time at home with her mother after what felt like years of chaos. But the relative peace was soon broken when her elderly grandmother could no longer live on her own and moved in. As an adult, Havrilesky tried to analyze memories with her therapist, delving into complicated feelings toward her father, who is no longer living, her mother, who still tries to control many things about her life, and other experiences. Now married and a mother of two, she tries to make sense of how her childhood influenced the adult that she has become.
Havrilesky's life is relatable but unremarkable—a pleasantly told story, but not compelling enough to sustain a full book.