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The Times-PicayuneWagner's is a distinctive and funny voice, with that tone of the committed (and at times should be committed) New Orleanian.
The title comes, as if you can't guess, from those infuriating stories of comparative loss post-Katrina, when those who had lost everything were subjected to the litanies of minor inconvenience by the more fortunate. "Everyone's loss is big to them," Wagner kept telling herself. And so it was. "I was not interested in sifting and weighing suck on a bunch of tiny scales," she continued. "Suck was too hard to quantify. There was plenty enough suck to go around. Sitting around measuring it wasn't going to fix anything."
What makes this story uniquely memorable is Wagner's wise and wisecracking voice, the broken heart beneath the bravado. Working on a survey of gutted/non-gutted buildings, she writes, "By the time you finished hearing people's problems, you wished you were a professional busybody or the mayor or the governor or a city inspector or anyone who could and would actually do something." And who hasn't had that feeling, way back then or as recently as yesterday?
Finally, Wagner and her boyfriend end up with "the dogs, sanity and each other." And we end up with this fine book, with its searing honesty, its gallows humor and its survivor spirit.