Hilarious! (And more than slightly inappropriate at times, which makes it all the more hysterical!) As a huge fan of the quickly expanding women’s comedy-memoir genre, I was excited to see Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar, by Kelly Oxford, pop up on one of the many book recommendation websites I follow. Instantly, I downloaded and dug into this non-fictional series of essays about Oxford’s dramatic childhood, often mortifying teen years and beyond.
While I am not sure how she ever convinced her parents to let her to go LA, as a seventeen year old, for a long weekend, reading about her adventures over that 72 hour period made me giggle more than once. Why not accept a ride from someone you met on the just-budding, new invention called the internet? He has a car; you need a ride. Sounds perfect! And when that works out (by works out, I mean you don’t get killed and dumped on the side of the road), why not meet up with another random LA-er, this one being a woman who claims to know Leonardo DiCaprio- your sole reason for being in LA? And when she turns out to eat more laxatives than actual food, why not ditch her in search of some late night pizza? Oh yeah, and how about tying up the weekend with a glittery bow of Las Vegas, with two more strangers? Sounds like a normal weekend for a seventeen year old if you ask me.
Oxford’s humor runs the gamut from situations infused with sheer mortification (peeing her pants in a gas station) to horrifyingly awful decisions (pretending to be homeless to get a free plane ride after spending the last of her money on weed) to ones more relatable to readers with kids (son barfing, repeatedly, on Disney ride after Disney ride, but still insisting on downing corndogs and churros.)
Throughout the book, each chapter stands on its own as a single tale of ridiculousness, embarrassment or slight insanity, but when put together as a whole, build the blocks of a life of one misguided adventure after another, starting with childhood and working up through Oxford’s current state as a wife, mother and continued maker of bad (yet enormously entertaining) bad decisions.
The thing is, this series of essays is hilarious because it is so over-the-top! Some readers will be horribly offended by some of the stories she fesses up to, but those are the same folks who also won’t be stifling laughs at Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson or Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch. Kelly Oxford’s Everything is Perfect if You’re a Liar is the perfect read for an airport (if you don’t mind being looked at oddly as you muffle your inescapable laughter) or a day at the beach (which might be better, as you can blame the giggles on a Speedo-clad leathery old man sighting) and earns: