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Cool, calm & contentious
Merrill Markoe
Adult Nonfiction PS3563.A6652 Z46 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Though her last two novels were canine-centric, comedy writer Markoe (Nose Down, Eyes Up) primarily branches out to the human world in this witty, affecting collection of personal essays though her own pack of four dogs does make regular, usually brief, appearances throughout. In "Jimmy Explains His Wake-Up Technique," flat-coated retriever Jimmy, Markoe's surprisingly articulate canine, compares his kamikaze morning leap onto her bed as a "ballet." But her most intimate essays recall her early years, as a high school student first in Florida and then outside San Francisco, in "When I Was Jack Kerouac," and later as an art student trying her hardest to be rebellious in college at Berkeley in the '60s, such as in "Virginity Entrepreneurs." Humor-from a helpful list for everyday life in "How to Spot an Asshole" to her own take on the popular TV show The Dog Whisperer in "The Dog Prattler"-is interspersed with serious issues, from sexual assault to coping with a parent's death. Several of her best pieces come from her experiences as a reporter on assignment, particularly in "Saturday Night with Hieronymus Bosch," where she covered the Fetish Ball in L.A. (think latex and spanking), and "Roiling on a River," about an all-women's rafting trip (think healing circles). Markoe, the original head writer for Letterman, is acerbic without being corrosive, endearing yet never saccharine. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Comedian Markoe, the original head writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, offers funny and frank pieces here on her mother, her dogs, and her love life. After her mother's death, Markoe found a collection of her mother's journals written during a time, 1959-89, when her mother did much world traveling. Through her mother's responses to tourist attractions (Venice's St. Mark's Square is "terribly over-decorated") and reading notes (Oliver Twist was not one of Dickens's "better works"), Markoe became aware of her mother's charm. Markoe discusses the 15 dogs she has owned since childhood, seeing them now as "exceedingly cooperative exchange students from another planet." On a serious note, she writes not only about losing her virginity during her "Berkeley years" but about being raped around that time as well. An exceptional collection of personal essays. [See Prepub Alert, 5/2/11.]-J.S. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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