Sleepwalk with Me: and Other Painfully True Stories

Sleepwalk with Me: and Other Painfully True Stories

by Mike Birbiglia

Paperback(Simon & Schuster)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439158005
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Edition description: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 249,253
Product dimensions: 8.22(w) x 5.60(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

Mike Birbiglia is a comedian, author, actor, and director. His one person shows Sleepwalk with Me and My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend have both run successfully off-Broadway and toured internationally. He was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor for this book and his feature film adaptation of it won the NEXT category’s audience award at Sundance Film Festival in 2012.

Read an Excerpt

Don’t Tell Anyone

I’m sitting at a Starbucks in Manhattan. Starbucks is the last public space with chairs. It’s a shower for homeless people. And it’s a place you can write all day. The baristas don’t glare at you. They don’t even look at you. Every once in a while they walk around with free samples of banana-chocolate something. “No thanks. Just the two-dollar coffee”—cheapest rent in New York. Plus, they sell CDs and even Christmas gifts. If this place sold toilet paper, I probably wouldn’t have to shop anywhere else.
Well, the reason I’m writing is that I want to tell you some stories. And they’re true. I always have to point this out because whenever I tell stories, people ask me, “Was that true?”
And I say, “Yeah.”
And they say, “Was it?”
And I don’t know how to respond to that. I guess I could say it louder. “Yeah!”
“It’s probably true. He said it louder.”
Growing up, I was discouraged from telling personal stories. My dad often used the phrase “Don’t tell anyone.” But not about creepy things. I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path. It would be about insignificant things. Like I wouldn’t make the soccer team and my father would say, “Don’t tell anyone.” And I would say, “They’re gonna know when they show up to the games and I’m not on the team and I’m crying.”
One time I built up the courage to ask him about this, which was tough because my dad is a very serious man. He’s a doctor—a neurologist. When he’s home, he spends most of his time in this one armchair reading these thick war novels. My dad goes through war novels like I go through boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
So I built up the courage to ask, “How come you play everything so close to the vest?”
My dad said, “The more people know about you, the more they can use it against you.”
This sent shivers down my spine because it had that kind of open-ended fear to it—like that feeling you get when you’re driving and you see a cop. And you’re not speeding. You don’t have drugs. But you’re just thinking, I hope he doesn’t notice I’m driving.
Once in a while I told personal stories at the dinner table and my father would say, “Hush!” I’ll give you an example. In grade school, I was a terrible reader. We used to do these things at school called Student Reading Assignments, and the teacher would post on the wall a list of how many everyone had done—which is a great way to squash a child’s self-esteem. I remember there was this girl in my class named Jamie Burson
who finished 146 of these things before I finished 2. And I distinctly remember thinking, I might be retarded. And then I looked at the wall and thought, Oh yeah, I am.
So one night, I sat at the dinner table and said to my dad, “I think I might be retarded.” And he said, “Hush!” Which is one way to address a problem—just keep it under wraps. That’s what my father would say whenever anyone told uncomfortable stories. So I developed this habit of telling uncomfortable stories.
So here goes . . .

Table of Contents

Don't Tell Anyone 1

I Have Something to Say! 5

Delusional 17

Please Stop the Ride 31

Goddammit 51

Like Hell 63

Patti and the Bear 75

Going Places 81

The Deal 89

I Can't Stop! 111

My Hero 127

Something in My Bladder 135

The Promise of Sleep 143

Sleepwalk with Me 155

One More Thing 183

Thank-Yous 189

Customer Reviews

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Sleepwalk With Me 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 83 reviews.
kim911 More than 1 year ago
Our dog died last night, which was heartbreaking - but this book arrived today and on a day when I thought I couldn't even smile, I read it cover to cover in one sitting and actually did LOL...not just pretending. This man is a genius...and cooler than he'll ever admit.
judycrilley More than 1 year ago
Sleepwalk With Me... laugh with Mike Birbiglia!!! I am old enough to be Mike's Mom, but sadly, I am not! I do have two children of my own that are about Mike's age. What does that have to do with Sleepwalk With Me? I'll tell you later! Now. about the book! Mike's a great storyteller. I have listened to his CD's and even seen him perform on Letterman and at Caroline's in NYC, so I know! I am absolutely delighted that he writes as well as he performs!!! I ride the NYC subways and reading helps me pretend I am somewhere else. So, I read SWM and while reading a story about his Catholic childhood. I had to look away because I was laughing so hard. When I looked back I thought I was going to laugh my head off.right there on the #1 train! For a moment, I was just another one of those subway-riding crazy persons.a happy crazy person! You find out in SWM, Mike's not only HILARIOUS, he's inspirational! Mike shares his "on the road" and "his rise to the top" stories, too. It seems to me that Mike's success is his, home-grown style of storytelling. AND that makes him the funny guy he is. It's his gift to us. AND... he works blissfully hard at his sharing his gift.and this is where my 2 kids fit into this review. My two children are both working artists with the vision of sharing their gifts and talents and vision with the world! They too, like Mike, work blissfully hard. We all work hard, but we need to laugh and be entertained. Artists do that with their lives! Hooray for artists! Hooray for, Mike! Mike has what it takes to be funny and share it with anyone who will listen. Now you can read it at your leisure, on the beach or like me, on your ride home to or from work. We all need a few good laughs!!! Read this book. Laughter is the cure for EVERYTHING. Mike's got the cure
JamesFauve More than 1 year ago
Cover to cover one of the funniest and most heartfelt reads to come along in recent memory. Always been a fan of Birbiglia's stand-up, but this piece brings his storytelling to a whole new level. Read it!
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Mike Birbiglia is one of my favorite comedians. If you aren't familiar with him you can find snippets of his routines on Pandora Radio.This book will feel familiar to anyone who has listened to his stand-up routines. He expounds on those bits, giving us the bigger picture.Prior to reading this book I knew nothing about his sleepwalking. Sleepwalking can be triggered by stress in one's life. Mike's sleepwalking was definitely triggered by stress. He chronicles his need to be honest with himself and the people in his life. His sleepwalking became quite dangerous.Though I was familiar with his comedy, I still enjoyed reading this book. I enjoy Mike's conversational tone. This book has adult themes and adult language.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of humor books and not many of them make me laugh. This book is just not funny. I smiled a few times but that is about it. I wouldn't buy this again or read it again.
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Such a brilliant comedian! Listen to the performance too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very funny and surprisingly touching. I highly recommend it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great, it will have you laughing from the first page to the last. Mike is my favorite comic and i was so happy when i found his book. I hope he wrights another!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Birbiglia is a personal favorite in standup comedy for me, im happy to say his book conveys his charm and awkwardness in a style only suited to him. Love mike, and the book, read it.
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Great book. Hilarious. I was laughing out loud.
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