I'M Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing but True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog

( 9 )

Overview

Meet the men in Diana Joseph's life: “The boy,” Diana's fourteen-year-old son, who supports the NRA and dreams of living in a house with wall-to-wall carpeting; Diana's father, who's called her on the telephone twice, ever, and who sat her down when she was twelve to caution her against becoming a slut (she didn't listen); Diana's brothers, or, as her father calls them, “the two assholes”; Diana's ex-husband, a lumberjack with three ex-wives, yet he's still the first one she calls when she's in a jam; and Diana's...

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Overview

Meet the men in Diana Joseph's life: “The boy,” Diana's fourteen-year-old son, who supports the NRA and dreams of living in a house with wall-to-wall carpeting; Diana's father, who's called her on the telephone twice, ever, and who sat her down when she was twelve to caution her against becoming a slut (she didn't listen); Diana's brothers, or, as her father calls them, “the two assholes”; Diana's ex-husband, a lumberjack with three ex-wives, yet he's still the first one she calls when she's in a jam; and Diana's common-law husband, Al, an English professor who's been mistakenly called mentally challenged. Ostensibly organized around the various men in Diana's life, this is really a memoir about what it's like to be a modern, smart woman making her way in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this bleak, sad and occasionally funny memoir, Joseph (Happy or Otherwise) explores life through the lens of the male relationships, both human and canine, woven into her life. It is not an easy task. She admits she's never really been part of a female circle of friends ("I'm a girly girl who enjoys a good fart joke") and ponders why this is so. Maybe it's because she grew up with brothers; maybe it's because her father was such a mysterious and godlike presence in her life that she spent most of her time seeking out male approval. Joseph adeptly scrutinizes the often opposing female and male sensibilities. She has a great eye for telling details that complete a character or scene. She routinely ends with men who don't suit her, or places she dislikes. "They didn't know I didn't belong at any gathering where people took tidy sips of wine, then remarked upon its bouquet or nibbled on stuffed mushrooms or spread a thin layer of hummus across pita bread." Whether describing a friendship with her alcoholic boss; her younger brother, a cop nicknamed Bye-Bye; or her father, who never reads books for pleasure but always reads the newspaper, Joseph strives to tell the straight story while not ignoring the potholes along the way. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Despite the mouthful of a title, there isn't an excess word in this smart and tightly constructed debut. Fans of David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell will appreciate Joseph's portraits of the men in her life. From her young son's trench foot to her blue-collar father's attempt at a sex talk, these impeccably detailed stories are as heartfelt as they are trenchantly funny.
—Elizabeth Brinkley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616847289
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/5/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Diana Joseph

Diana Joseph has worked as a waitress, a short-order cook, a typist, and a teacher. Her essay “The Boy” won the Kentucky Women Writers Prize for Creative Nonfiction. Joseph currently teaches in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I'm Sorry You Feel That Way

    is the catchy title of Diana Joseph's book of essays about her life. Subtitled The Astonishing But True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog, Joseph recounts incidents from her life that made her the woman she is.

    The book is an honest, funny and touching look at Diana's life. Her father, a man who preferred to be sans shirt most of the time, gave his twelve-year-old daughter some advice on boys: "Don't be a pig". Translation: Don't be a slut. She didn't take his advice, and frequently her choices in men were questionable.

    She calls her now-teenage son 'the boy', and her description of raising a son mostly on her own reminded me of Anne LaMott's writing on the same topic. Single moms trying everyday to do their best, but struggling with not having enough money, exhaustion, depression and loneliness. She is not a martyr, just a human being.

    Joseph is remarkably honest in her assessment of herself and others, and that is the strength of her book. She has the ability to see the good and bad that exists in all of us, and expresses that in her unique way.

    The last essay of the book, 'Ten Million, At Least', is the most moving. Joseph lives with literature professor Al, a good guy who loves her and her boy. They love each other, but they also have their differences, which makes it difficult at times to cohabitate. If you don't tear up at the last two pages, you simply aren't human.

    Diana Joseph has spent much of her life around men- her dad, her brothers, lovers, and her son- and that has colored the way she sees the world. Her book is an honest look at how a modern woman deals with bad habits, depression, sex, love, crummy jobs, poverty, pets, loneliness, rock and roll and family. It's humorous and moving, just like life. If you are a fan of David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell, add Diana Joseph to your reading list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2009

    Read it more than once....

    I'm sure the Panella's are sorry now.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 5, 2010

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