03 September, 2014

Fuck the Higher Bird: A Review of 'Yoga Bitch' by Suzanne Morrison

More often than not on this blog, I've reviewed genre fiction-- that is, sci-fi or fantasy or something other than straight-up "literary" fiction. What I've never done is review nonfiction, simply because I don't, as a rule, read nonfiction. David Sedaris notwithstanding, my experience with other people's memoirs has more often than not been an exercise in eyerolling at the self-aggrandizing navel-gazing contained therein. Memoir is what people write when they think they're more special than they are.

When I went to the AWP conference in Seattle this past February, I went to a panel about book reviews where the editors of several review publications offered advice on how to make reviews pop. The best piece of advice I got was that a review shouldn't be a summary of the events of a book-- it should frame the book in context. Simply laying out the events of the book isn't enough; you can get that by going to Amazon. A good review tells a reader not if the book is good or bad, but why it's relevant.

It was also at AWP that I, on a whim, attended a panel on humor in memoir, and got to hear Suzanne Morrison read from her book Yoga Bitch. When I tell you I laughed so hard I cried, I'm not exaggerating. Her sarcasm, her unflinching honesty about her own inner failings, and most of all, the unbelievable story of a group full of grown adults who willingly drink their own pee, had me hooked.