Review: The Harm in Asking by Sara Barron

Title: The Harm in Asking
Author: Sara Barron
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 0-30-772070-5
Published: March 25 2014, Three Rivers Press
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

The-Harm-In-Asking-copy

Main Characters: Sara

Synopsis: Sara Barron, in her own words, has “suffered.” She spent her childhood constantly fighting with her brother for the praise of their parents, and now she has grown into a remarkable woman with a propensity for extreme farts. In a collection of wildly humorous essays, Sara dives right in to the grubby, spiderwebbed corners of her life, leaving no gritty stone unturned.

Memorable Quotes:

  • Over time, a weird thing happened. Locked in the bathroom, I invented imaginary friends to keep me company. And if you’re thinking, That’s not weird. It’s what kids do! I’ll point out that I had no fewer than three, and that each of these three was accessible to me only after I’d taken a shit.
  • Prior to getting together with Charlie, all I’d wanted was a boyfriend. And then I got one. At a dog run. He’d offered access to his basement, coital time in which to pee and wash my face. What more could I want? What more could I need? Why wasn’t it enough? Was I afraid? Was I a snob? Was I wrong to turn my nose up at a carpet in a basement?
  • I was at the local coffee shop one weekend afternoon when I spotted a certain gentleman, and after a series of boring events he and I wound up having sex. It was mostly uneventful, except for the fact that during the proceedings, I sprained my neck. We’d had sex and gone to bed, and when I woke up the next morning, I found I couldn’t move it.
    “Oh no!” I exclaimed.
    My companion groaned wordlessly in response.
    I rotated the entirety of my torso to face him.
    “I think I sprained my neck,” I said.
    “From the blowjobs?” he asked, but nodding “yes” was not an option. I pitched my torso back and forth.
    “Oh, shit!” he laughed. “Wow. That’s really funny.”

Review: I will admit, I’m generally not one for memoirs or essays. But an opportunity came along to review this book, and I couldn’t resist! And I’m so glad I did. Not only did this book manage to draw my attention away from the World of Warcraft, which is admittedly where I spend most of my time these days, it also had me laughing out loud the entire time.

Sara doesn’t really have any enlightening bits of advice to pass along, which is good. I’m not in the market for a self-help book. She’s just a normal woman with a fantastic sense of humor. She has an ability to look back at events in her life and understand that, good or bad, they happened; they’ve made her the person she is today, and there’s always something you can draw from that.

My favorite segment of the book is one in which Sara has a desire to be a lesbian. “A what?” you ask. “How can someone desire to become a lesbian? You either are or you aren’t!” Well, young reader, you see, when Sara was a little girl, her parents were friends with a lesbian couple. To Sara’s understanding, being a lesbian just meant you were super cool. The comprehension that you actually had to enjoy eating out other women didn’t hit her until many years later. This didn’t stop her desire, however, even when she was ogling cucumbers at the supermarket and rubbing them longingly against her cheek. And it wasn’t until a dalliance with another woman in her collegiate years that Sara finally accepted the fact that well, no, she was not a lesbian. But for those details, you’ll have to read the book.

I also ended up highlighting a lot more quotes than I used in the Memorable Quotes section. Unfortunately, some of them wouldn’t work without more context than I was willing to give! Do yourself a favor and pick up this book, even if you don’t traditionally read essays!

Rating: ★★★★

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