Book 30 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from May 21 - 28
Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (But Also My Mom's, Which I Know Sounds Weird) by Michael Ian Black
Summary (via Goodreads)
New York Times bestselling author and stand-up comedian Michael Ian Black delivers a frank and funny memoir about confronting his genetic legacy as he hits his forties.
Whether it's family history, religion, aging, or his parents, Michael Ian Black always has something to say in the dry, irreverent voice that has captured a fan base of millions. When a medical diagnosis forces him to realize he's not getting any younger, he reexamines his life as a middle-aged guy - of course, in the deadpan wit and self-deprecating vignettes that have become trademarks of his humor.
The alt-comedy take on getting older, Navel Gazing is a funny-because-it's true memoir about looking around when you're forty and realizing that life is about more than receding hairlines and proving one's manliness on Twitter - it's about laughing at yourself.
This book had an easy, conversational style and was a great read. He was very honest even as he acknowledged that his honesty might make his mom angry; although he said he tried his best to be fair, it is still his side and view of disagreements they've had.
He made a good point about forty being a good time to write a memoir because "forty is that moment most of us believe ourselves to be balanced right at the fulcrum of the life-expectancy teeterboard. On one side, we see our parents' generation starting to get old, some of them sick, some already dead. On the other, our children's generation, brimming with a vibrant joie de vivre best described as 'annoying'."
A Few Quotes from the Book
"It's hard to argue with an insurance company refusing to pay for a new navel."
"I don't consider myself a particularly vain man, but that is only because I am lying. The truth is, I am incredibly vain, even though I have very little to be vain about."
"Regardless, I know [his children] hear me. I know because I heard Mom all those years, even when I was ignoring her, even when I was giving her the metaphorical and literal finger; after all, telling a parent to fuck off is one of the great joys of adolescence. I did it a lot."
"Families are meant to take care of each other, even when it feels unfair."