Friday, February 1, 2008

If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny

If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny
Written by Lucy Adams
Palm Tree Press
Reviewed by Melissa

You know that old adage, "don't judge a book by it's cover"? Well, it applies to this book, which has the ugliest cover that I've ever seen. Honestly. It's butt ugly. It's not obscene or anything; it's just a terribly drawn, lame cartoon--embarrassingly bad enough that I took to laying the book face-down when I wasn't reading it. I hate to come down so hard, but if I hadn't received a review copy of this, I never would have picked it up, mostly because the cover repulses me.

I'm here to tell you that the book is way better than the cover. Which wasn't that hard to accomplish, but still, it's quite a funny little book.

From what I can figure, it's a collection of Adams's syndicated columns which she writes for newspapers in Georgia and Tennessee. Though you could probably say it's a book about moms and for moms, it's really a little bit of everything. It took me a little while to get into it -- being January and cold outside and grumpy inside and all -- but by about halfway through, I was sniggering and chortling enough that my husband had to come see what was up. Most of the essays are mom humor, and those are the best. Her kids take on Dr. Seuss, the beach, pets, each other, and, in my absolute favorite essay, adopt a watermelon. I still giggle when I think about it.
But she touches on marriage humor -- in "Rambling My Way to Purgatory," she talks about vacations and in-laws. Very amusing. And then there's the general life humor -- "Patients Will be Seen after Appointment Time Only" is probably self-explanatory, and a very creative way to visit the doctor's office woes of us all. Or "Thrift Store Look Without the Thrift Store Price," where she experiences the joy that is shopping for designer clothes

And don't forget that Adams is a Southerner. She doesn't take advantage of that enough -- they have a certain take on life in the South, and I have a soft spot in my heart for Southern humor. There were a few times that Adams went full-blown Southern on me (in "A Pig that Good" and "Difficult Decisions" -- it's about naming a dog -- and "Oh, the Delirium of Summer"), but mostly it was just there lurking in the background. Which isn't bad; it just wasn't all I was expecting.

Even so, it was funny enough. In one essay she comes up with a new guideline for our lives: we should all be asking "Would Mama Laugh?" In this case, this mama did.

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