Microthrills: True Stories from a Life of Small Highs

( 3 )

Overview

Raised in Manhattan by her tiny sex-therapist mother and her two eccentric grandparents, Wendy Spero has always sought excitement in "microthrills," the small, strange highs that give her life meaning. Her story begins in the one-bedroom, Upper East Side apartment she shared with her overly protective mother, where, as a little girl, she passed the time gnawing on strawberry-scented erasers, breaking up arguments between her imaginary friends, and being subjected to cut-throat ...
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Overview

Raised in Manhattan by her tiny sex-therapist mother and her two eccentric grandparents, Wendy Spero has always sought excitement in "microthrills," the small, strange highs that give her life meaning. Her story begins in the one-bedroom, Upper East Side apartment she shared with her overly protective mother, where, as a little girl, she passed the time gnawing on strawberry-scented erasers, breaking up arguments between her imaginary friends, and being subjected to cut-throat nursery school applications

Eventually, Wendy broke out on her own - but continued to be admonished by her mother for not having enough quality orgasms. After a stint of door-to-door knife-selling, she began her first (and last) office job, where she formed an unusual relationship with her big-time executive boss - one that involved as much pot smoking and gold glitter as it did mentoring. Now, a comedian living in L.A., Wendy grapples with such grown-up issues as trying to kick her addiction to eating candy in bed, parenting dozens of high-maintenance stuffed animals, and finally learning how to drive.

Sure to be loved by fans of David Sedaris and Laurie Notaro, this hilarious, offbeat, and, at times, touching book marks the debut of a fresh, new nonfiction voice, and one that won't soon be forgotten.

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615552788
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/3/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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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Table of Contents


Welcome to the Microcosmos     xi
Shoulder Padded Muuutual Masturbation     1
Einstein, the Filmmaker     8
Live-in Sidekicks     24
E.T. and OCD     41
A Day in the Life of a Spero Hydra     52
Me, Mom, and Him     67
An Emotional Outlet     75
Vertical Halloweens     83
The Hippo and the Tortoise     92
The Traveling Monchhichis     102
Leaving the Lower Math Group     108
The Pull of Lycra     118
Molly Ringwald or Ally Sheedy?     128
Neopragmatic Hegemonic Paradigms     134
Free Spatulas     143
Apt. 6C     151
How Cool Is My Mom?     163
Why I Ended Up Buying the Most Hideously Bulbous Down Jacket of All Time     167
It's Not You, It's Me     177
Sticky Affairs     182
A Wedding Announcement     190
Stranger Bonding     195
Mom's Big Break     202
Gary     206
Mini Driver     221
Acknowledgments     237
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