The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes (review)

March 30, 2015 Book Reviews 8 ★★★½

The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes (review)The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on March 4th 2014
Genres: Humor, Nonfiction
Pages: 100
Format: Paperback
Source: the library
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes takes on the amazing in the ordinary in this side-splitting series of short commentaries. Pearl-McPhee turns her trademark wit and perspective to everything from creative discipline to a way you would never think about fixing your email situation. This book looks at everyday problems--and honestly won't do much to solve them--but at least you'll be laughing.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a very funny lady, and she manages to be funny about knitting, which is even more impressive (if you don’t happen to be a knitter. Knitters know all about how funny – not to mention frustrating – knitting can be.) In her newest collection of essays, however, knitting is pretty much in the background, as she takes on topics as diverse as the overflowing email inbox, dodgeball, parenting, overseas dentistry, and a skunk under her porch. A few of the essays had me laughing out loud – the one about the skunk is particularly funny, though like most humorous stories, I’m sure it didn’t seem so at the time. I cringed while reading about her experiences with dodgeball, a game I particularly hated in school. I chuckled ruefully as she talked about how her husband Joe denies that he’s always late even though he’s always late, and nodded in painful recognition as she wrote of the boy whose cruel words left her convinced, as a teen, that she wasn’t pretty.

The essay that hit home the hardest, though, was “Snap.” In it, Pearl-McPhee talks about photos of her well-loved grandmother, who died when Pearl-McPhee was still a child. And she talks about how, because she isn’t photogenic, she has avoided having her own picture taken, and how that has left a huge gap in the family record. Oh my gosh, I thought with a sinking in my gut, she’s right. And that’s me, too. I don’t think I’m photogenic, and I rarely let anyone take a picture of me, so there are whole years in which I hardly appear. What’s that going to mean to Robin when I’m gone, or to her children (if she has them)? Do I really think that looking (or thinking I look) imperfect or overweight or (God forbid) every one of my fifty-mumble years means I’m not worth looking at or remembering? I made up my mind then and there to make sure I’m in the family photos from now on, imperfections and all.

And if that’s not the mark of a successful essay, I don’t know what is.

CHALLENGES: 2015 TBR Pile Challenge; Take Control of Your TBR Challenge; Popsugar #26: a memoir (because all the essays here are based on McPhee’s own life)

three-half-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
  • PopSugar 2015 Reading challenge
  • Take Control Of Your TBR Pile Challenge - March 2015

8 Responses to “The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes (review)”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      You’d enjoy that essay, I think! I didn’t find this book as funny overall as some of her others, but the more thoughtful essays kind of made up for that.

  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    Oh this sounds entertaining! The mention of her husband always being late made me cringe a little because that’s so me! My husband is always on time or early and I’m always rushing about like the white rabbit. It drives me crazy about myself. The comment about the pictures made me cringe a little as well. I definitely need to get better about being in pictures. Half the time it’s not really me avoiding the camera it’s that I’m always the one taking the picture. This sounds like an interesting and entertaining book from an author I hadn’t heard of. That weeping sound is my TBR pile!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…The Dead Play On – ReviewMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I think you would enjoy some of these essays! She mentions that about the photos – that she’s also usually the one taking them – but now she hands it to someone else to make sure she’s in some of them, too. (And I know what you mean about the weeping TBR. I had cleared about 100 books off my TBR list on Goodreads, and in a month and a half, I’ve managed to add almost that many back on.)

  2. Bea @Bea's Book Nook

    Sounds like a powerful book, especially the essay about the photos. I too hate having my photo taken, I almost never like how I look. I don’t have kids or a significant other but there might be other relatives who would want to see me.

    I hadn’t heard of McPhee before but maybe I’ll look for her at the library.
    Bea @Bea’s Book Nook recently posted…Bea Reviews The Fifth Gospel by Ian CaldwellMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Indeed there might! Also, I think we are all much too critical of how we look in photos; I don’t think we see what other people see. They see through eyes of love, or even neutral eyes, while we look with critical eyes, so we see mostly the flaws and not the beauty.