Thursday, April 28, 2016

One D.O.A., One on the Way
Why Did I Ever

by Mary Robison

I read Why Did I Ever quite some time ago, but I've never forgotten the author's unique and biting sense of humor — sarcastic, world-weary, nothing's sacred, whip-smart, everything's fucked. Both books are fairly short and enjoyable, assuming you appreciate the caustic wit, and both feature a female protagonist who works in the film industry, either in the South or from the South. Both books also consist of short, diary-like entries, epigrams and lists. (One D.O.A. has lists, anyway; I don't remember if the other does.)

Published in 2001, Why Did I Ever features a character trying to manage her ADD while struggling as a screenwriter and navigating various personal crises. One D.O.A., One on the Way came out in 2009 and is narrated by a location scout married to a lazy scion of an old-money New Orleans family; she's trying to train an intern, even though all the work has moved to Shreveport since Katrina, and inexplicably having an affair with her husband's identical twin, perhaps only because she can't always tell which one is which. A number of the lists in the latter book detail the myriad ways New Orleans remains a shambles several years post-hurricane.

If you think you're a match for this type of humor, I give a hearty recommendation for both of these books. The author has written a few collections of short stories, but I haven't tried any of them.

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