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Microthrills: True Stories from a Life of Small Highs
     

Microthrills: True Stories from a Life of Small Highs

4.2 4
by Wendy Spero
 

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Raised in Manhattan by her overprotective sex-therapist mother (who wore “nine inches of shoulder pads”), Wendy Spero has always sought excitement in microthrills, the small, strange highs that give her life meaning—from finding a strip tease video of her grandmother to selling knives door-to-door. As a little girl, Spero passed the time sniffing

Overview

Raised in Manhattan by her overprotective sex-therapist mother (who wore “nine inches of shoulder pads”), Wendy Spero has always sought excitement in microthrills, the small, strange highs that give her life meaning—from finding a strip tease video of her grandmother to selling knives door-to-door. As a little girl, Spero passed the time sniffing fruit-scented markers and breaking up arguments between her imaginary friends. As an adult, in her first office job, she formed an unusual relationship with her boss that involved as much marijuana-smoking as it did mentoring. Called “a profoundly funny human being” by Time Out New York, Spero is now a comedian living in L.A., grappling with such grown-up issues as trying to kick her addiction to eating candy in bed and learning how to drive.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
In her effervescent, delightfully neurotic memoir...Spero works...magic on paper.
Ed Helms
Microthrills will make you cringe with glee. Spero takes you inside her peculiar mind and tiny, hilarious world with a brazen vulnerability that is the rare province of truly great humorists. She has a singular and completely warped view of the world, able to find poignancy and jubilation in life's nagging minutiae. David Sedaris watch your back! (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)
Daily Candy
A hilarious memoir ... with lots of laugh-so-hard-you-snort-milk-out-of-your-nose moments.
Kirkus Reviews
These essays by up-and-coming comedian Spero, about childhood and coming-of-age in New York, are akin to David Rakoff's Fraud, but lacking that book's the wit and insight. Living with her single mother (her father died when she was ten months old), the author had an experience familiar to many Manhattan kids: trick-or-treating in apartment buildings; feeling a twinge of envy when visiting relatives in the suburbs, but always glad to return to the city; arguing, like teens everywhere, over curfew. What saves Spero's chronicle of her youthful escapades from being overwhelmingly tedious is her tender but comic portrait of her family. Her grandparents played an especially large role in her life; the author captures their bereavement over their son's early death with pathos, never sentimentality. She draws a hilarious portrait of her mother, a petite sex therapist, who constantly lectured Spero about sex: "Real lovemaking involves active communication," she told her 11-year-old. "Active, active communication. . . . And a lot of hard work." Still, the sex-therapist-mom shtick grows old quickly, and the college and early-adulthood pieces trade on cliches: the quest for a normal roommate, the ruminations over whether to marry her boyfriend, the woes of the office job, the occasional drug use. Spero's attempts at humor are often just silly. To wit, her meditation on fruit-scented markers: She loves them, but always finds their intense smell frustrating. Despite their wonderful, olfactory fruitiness, "there is simply no fruity climax . . . no, Fruity, fruity, yes, perfect, oh yeah, YES . . . Ah. Enough." These pieces may work onstage in Spero's one-woman show, but on the page,they fall flat.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101218006
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/03/2006
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
422 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Jill Soloway
MICROTHRILLS was a series of micro-orgasms for me, not only in my funny bone, but throughout my brain. I love the magical minutiae of the way Wendy Spero's mind works. This book will be loved, loved, loved by all. (co-executive producer, Six Feet Under; author, Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants)
Ed Helms
Spero takes you inside her tiny, hilarious world with a brazen vulnerability that is the rare province of truly great humorists.... David Sedaris watch your back! (Ed Helms, The Daily Show)
Sarah Silverman
Reading MICROTHRILLS is like breathing air -- it feels natural. You don't feel yourself reading. Wendy Spero paints a world both familiar and unique -- so specific that you feel implanted in her moments. What I'm trying to say is I really liked it. And I'm trying to say it in a hoity-toity way.
A. J. Jacobs
Funny and touching and insightful. Microthrills is all about the little highlights of life—and by the first chapter, I knew it was going to be a highlight of my reading year. (A. J. Jacobs, author, The Know-It-All)

Meet the Author

Wendy Spero is an award-winning comedian and actress, and author and performer of the acclaimed one-woman show Who's Your Daddy?. She has been featured on NPR, Comedy Central, VHI, and NBC, and in The New Yorker. She has written for Esquire and The New York Times.

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Microthrills: True Stories from a Life of Small Highs 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was amusing to a point in the beginning but got rather redundent quickly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Microthrills is fun to read, but not just fun. It's also very touching. Spero has a fresh, off beat humor and an attention to detail that is simply awesome. Really smart bookl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wendy Spero's book, aptly named Microthrills, is a tour-de-force of comedy and wit that follows suit of such modern day writers as Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors) and David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day), yet carries with it the same smart humor as Ellen DeGeneres (My Point and I Do Have One), the flare and relatable intellect of Ann LaMott (Bird by Bird), and even the sentimentality of Jennifer Weiner (Good In Bed). However, in all honesty, comparing Spero to anyone is unjust, because her voice is unique, her stories literally jump out of the page unlike any other, and her humor is contagious. This is, by far, the funniest, wittiest, sweetest, and strangest (in a good way) book I've read in a long, long time. Microthrills is a humorous collection of Spero's memoirs, detailing her life growing up in New York City. What makes this book so unique is that she will take absolute minutiae and write an entire chapter on it, but by the end of the chapter, you really feel invested in what new finger-puppets she has, or what kind of home- video her Grandpa will make next. The book is not only pee-in-your-pants funny (note: you may want to carry around an extra pair of jeans while you are reading it, just in case), but it's also sentimental, and its only downfall is that you may be disappointed when you're done with a story and you look up and neither Wendy nor her mom are there in your living room, arms outstretched, ready for the hug that you really really want to give them. This is that book that you finish and you are disappointed that you read it so quickly (yet you won't be able to put it down). When I recovered from finishing Microthrills, I passed it on to my Mom, who, at let's-just-say 'retirement' age, ate up every single page with as much hunger for the next as I'd anticipated. Microthrills is not only for 20 and 30-somethings...it's for their moms and dads, too. Written with honesty and verve, Microthrills is about a young woman's journey through hilarious obstacles and humbling lessons, tracking her life from childhood to young adulthood. Spero effectively communicates the stories unabashedly and somehow makes you believe she is speaking directly to you, her life-long-friend. Having never had the opportunity to see Spero's one-woman-show of which this book is based, I do not feel, in the least, slighted. The book speaks for itself and is a stand-alone comic masterpiece that will surely mark Wendy Spero as a humor writer and fresh personality for years to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Microthrills during a recent memoir bender and it immediately rose to the top of the stack. Wendy graciously eschews all the teeth-gritting conventions of â¿¿wacky female memoir by a totally wacky female who youâ¿¿re really gonna think is a nutball, whoa!â¿ Wendy is both honest and honestly funny. This book will make you happy. Read it in the bathtub.