I don’t Tweet. I am not even sure if I am able to Tweet from China. (Maybe I could and I just have never had a nice enough phone to send Twitter-twatter out into the ether.) Either way, I don’t Tweet, which put me at a possibly distinct disadvantage when I downloaded Rob Delaney’s recently released freshman collection of musings. As a non-Tweeter, I had no idea who this Rob Delaney guy was, but after doing a bit of post-book reading, I’ve discovered he is the bees knees when it comes to comedians on Twitter. But then again, maybe it was to my advantage to have no preconceived notion of his comedy, as I would imagine it is not easy to translate a regular stream of 140 character humorous reflections into a several hundred page collection of essays.
So, I picked up Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. blind, but left with my eyes wide open to more than I ever needed to know about some of Delaney’s down south goings-on. I guess it is the nature of comedy to expose yourself to the world, but many times, it is a literal exposure going on for Delaney. Not only do I have an inordinate amount of information about his personal pleasure choices, but I know that he has had an up-close and personal view of another human’s butt hole, as well as that he reciprocated said view to another. Wow!
Rob Delaney’s book is an interesting, although at times slightly odd, combination of marginally humorous essay mixed with recovering alcoholic reflections. Having quickly learned that Delaney makes his living as a comedian, I was surprised as the serious tone of many of the essays. Yes, there are sprinkles of humor thrown in throughout, but it is hard to find Twitter-feed type levity when talking about drunk driving, massive car accidents, hospitalization, rehab, jail time, halfway houses and the continuous struggles of an alcoholic. Had I come into this book as a fervent follower of the Twitter feed that made him popular, I think I would have been disappointed by the serious nature of much of this book. Memoir is probably a more accurate descriptor than humor.
Normally, I can’t wait to get my hands on an essay collection by a favorite blogger or comedian, but this one fell a bit short for me. The mixture between bits of comedy and the seriousness of his struggles with alchol never found a satisfying balance for me as the reader. I either wanted more remorse for his earlier actions (he talks about drunk driving as if it were just another blip on the radar) or I want a more extreme self-depreciative, dark humor. This middle ground just feels awkward. While I enjoyed his writing style, and would probably pick up a sophomore publication, Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. left me sitting on the proverbial fence, earning an in-the-middle: