How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day

( 3 )


Ann Hodgman is a funny lady. In this book, she explains how she got that way. But the book only goes up through sixth grade.

            After that, her life became so embarrassing that writing it down would have caused the pages to burst into flames.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $2.94   
  • Used (7) from $1.99   
How to Die of Embarrassment Every Day

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99 price
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.


Ann Hodgman is a funny lady. In this book, she explains how she got that way. But the book only goes up through sixth grade.

            After that, her life became so embarrassing that writing it down would have caused the pages to burst into flames.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Filled with 1960s and '70s nostalgia and acerbic humor, Hodgman's (The House of a Million Pets) anecdotal, free-association autobiography laces tales of her early childhood in Rochester, N.Y., with references to her adult years and parenting her own children. She reminisces about family, playmates, and school, as well as her various likes (reading ranks high on the list, and a lively chapter covers her girlhood affinity for miniature cameras, SuperBalls, and Band-Aids) and dislikes. Even though the target audience won't necessarily recognize references to Mighty Mouse or The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Hodgman's longings, insecurities, and passions are universal, from her timidity regarding parties ("I suddenly discovered that I was the type of slumber-party guest who says, ‘Come on, guys. Isn't it time we got some shut-eye?' ") to dreaded elementary-school gym classes and the naming of beloved toys ("Leprosy... is a disease, but I didn't know that"). And while some middle-graders may find that Hodgman too often veers into minutiae, the book's strength lies in her blistering sense of humor and her refusal to talk down to readers. Ages 8–12. (May)
From the Publisher
“Her witty prose has the right balance of nostalgia and self-deprecation.” —School Library Journal


“In these light and funny pages, grownup Ann looks back with unmerciful self-deprecation on herself as she was in the early 1960s, and the result is a book that children ages 8-14 can enjoy as a kind of genial historical artifact and that their parents can read with affectionate winces at the quirks and obsessions of long-ago childhood.” —The Wall Street Journal


"Hodgman's longings, insecurities, and passions are universal…the book's strength lies in her blistering sense of humor and her refusal to talk down to readers.” —Publishers Weekly


"Rueful, funny and nostalgic…” —Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Nancy Garhan Attebury
Billed as a "true story" this book is prefaced with a few pages about how it is not a regular book. That in itself is enticing for readers, as is the idea that youngsters can relate to being embarrassed since it is a big deal to them. In this book, the author weaves words into various episodes from her life in the 1950s as she offers kids a good grasp of what life was like during that period. Intrigue occurs when she talks about her family background as well as when she describes an incident in which she shoplifted from a local store. Vignettes about simple day to day events are made interesting by the accompaniment of black and white 50s photos of the author. Even the episode titles draw in the reader. Kids will like titles such as "My Animals—Live, Dead, and Stuffed" and "Do You Like Me Yet?" Some simple topics include those about underpants, band-aids, a miniature camera, and a geode. This easy-to-read book can be read in bits and pieces or as a whole. It makes a good supplement to history and family tree lessons and would make a good read when a group of friends get together. Reviewer: Nancy Garhan Attebury
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Hodgman has written a humorous memoir of her childhood up to the sixth grade. The book is a collection of "life stories" that vary in length, and, as she states, the chapters need not be read in sequence. Her witty prose has the right balance of nostalgia and self-deprecation. Whether she is describing the time she first heard her kindergarten teacher read "Hansel and Gretel" and hid in the coat closet, or she is blaming the demise of a plastic kiddie pool on a two-and-a-half-year-old neighbor, her text transports readers right to the scene. Photos of the author and her family, plus other illustrations, appear throughout. As delightful as the memoir is, however, it may resonate much more with the intended audience's parents (and grandparents). Hodgman seems to acknowledge this when she says, "Yes, I realize 1956 sounds like a fake year to you, but being born in the 1990s and 2000s sounds fake to me."—Elaine Baran Black, Georgia Public Library Service, Atlanta
Kirkus Reviews
Hodgman looks back humorously at her 1960s childhood in the Rochester, N.Y., area, recalling incidents that pained her at the time or seem embarrassing in retrospect. There was the way she bragged about her reading before she knew better, the fourth-grade nickname (Hampton Schnoz) bestowed by a classmate she'd asked about her appearance and the total lack of athletic ability that left her at the bottom of the climbing ropes. She includes poems from her "bird sequence," written in third grade.Not all events are mortifying. Some just reflect what it was like to be young at the time. There is the longed-for Petunia the Climbing Skunk from F.A.O. Schwartz that she didn't get for Christmas, a lovely description of birthday-party entertainments that includes Spiderweb and the Kim Game and the scary school-bus driver who threatened his misbehaving passengers with a rifle. Some anecdotes are very short; others go on for several pages. Occasional photographs of herself and her husband, as well as both their families back to their grandparents, will help readers picture these children from long ago. There is no hint of the larger political turmoil of the time. Rueful, funny and nostalgic, this will ring true to parents and grandparents and may be even more appealing to them than to a child readership—whose impression of the 1960s will be very different.(Memoir. 9-12)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805087055
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,548,886
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: NC900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Hodgman lives in Washington, Connecticut with her husband, the writer David Owen, and one million pets.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


The Rules of This BOOK

This isn't a regular book. You don't have to read the chapters in order. As a matter of fact, they're not even exactly chapters. Some of them are so short that they're really more like paragraphs, or what magazine editors call "boxes." Some are so short that you would need a microscope to see them.

After all, it's not as if I had a really eventful childhood. I wasn't the type of kid people looked at and said, "She's going to be the first woman president." My life just went along, probably the way yours does. So what am I going to do for a book? Write things like "Then, next year, I was in third grade"? I don't want to giveyou my whole life story! I just want to give you some little life stories! I want to give you the, you know, meat of the sandwich, not the boring old bread. So if you want to find out dates and history and things, you'll have to wait until I die and then read my autobiography. Which I won't be writing, because it would be too boring. And also because I'll be dead.

Some of the names in this book are real, and some are fake. I bet you can guess which kind Miss Stinkyface is. (Real.) If I was describing something that might embarrass people I liked, or might make them feel bad, I didn't want to use real names. On the other hand, I figured it was okay to use real names when I wasn't talking about anything bad. On the third hand, I didn't want to use real names even for people I hated, because what if they turned nice later on? Or got mad and came after me?

Sometimes, just to keep things interesting, I used a person's real name in one part of the book and his or her fake name in another.

This book only goes up through sixth grade. After that, my life became so embarrassing that writing it down would have caused the pages to burst into flames. Like what about the time I wore a fake-leather pantsuit and big Pilgrim-looking shoes and a ruffled shirt to the mall in seventh grade, and people kept staring at me, and I finally called my mother to bring me some regularclothes to change into in the car? I still live in dread that someday, a person from my teenage past will threaten to tell my husband and kids alllllllllllllll about what I used to be like. If that happens, there won't be any point in my paying the blackmailer. I'll just have to change my name and move away.

Text copyright © 2011 by Ann Hodgman

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

The Rules Of This Book 4

Do You Like Me Yet? 4

Where It All Started 10

My Animals-Live, Dead, and Stuffed 26

Things I Wanted 43

Birthday Parties 63

Names 82

First Days Of School 96

Sports 117

Playing Outside 133

Scouting and You-well, Me 150

Things I Hated 172

A Few Things Grown-ups Say That Are (I'm Sorry) True 190

A Few Things Grown-ups Say That Aren't True 197

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2012

    Funny and surprising

    Wonderful. Made me lol!!!!

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

    Posted December 16, 2011


    This book looks good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Great book!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)