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Review: Please Excuse My Daughter: A Memoir, by Julie Klam

I’ve finally discovered the answer to a question I’ve had for a long time: what exactly do housewives do all day long? Well, Julie Klam wrote a memoir. Yup, a bored housewife who was too lazy to go out and get a job even before she married has written a memoir about being absolutely “normal.”

She grew up in a wealthy suburb, where she played hookey from school in order to go shopping with her mom. Later, she had trouble getting a job, so she chalks this up as “I was brought up to believe that women don’t work.” Please. Klam’s just l-a-z-y. Then, she dates an ex-con who steals $17,000 from her, and badgers her next boyfriend, Paul, with constant e-mails about wanting to get married. The rest of the memoir is a boring series of wedding details, baby details, and complaints about how horrible Klam’s life was now that she couldn’t afford to get her hair colored and that her size zero jeans didn’t fit. Poor Julie. Furthermore, she wants a job where she can afford to “go out to lunch and get [her] hair done and go into Barneys and buy five hundred dollars’ worth of makeup.” Then she goes on to complain about being forced to shop at Gristedes (a New York chain grocery store)! Someone please, please tell me this woman isn’t serious. At one point, where both she and her husband are out of work, Klam asks, “why has this happened to me?” a refrain usually more suitable for someone who has suffered real things. Klam is a completely self-absorbed, parasitic twit who refuses to take responsibility for her actions and has no awareness for the people around her. What she needs is a good therapist.

The book might have been saved by good writing; however, the writing here is stale and flat. Klam tries to be funny, but fails miserably. Klam could have explored some emotional truths in this, book, but all she does is recite a list of things she did or things that happened to her. And she tells us what er theme is, instead of showing us. Don’t waste your time on this stuff; it’s much better spent reading a memoir by someone who actually has an interesting life.


Stephanie said…
I've never heard of this one before, but based on your review can't imagine that I would like it!
Laura said…
I like that you used the word "twit!" Sounds like a perfect description for her!
Carmi said…
Thank you for this review: I hardly have time for literary boredom.

You raise a great point: Anything - even the seemingly mundane minutae of everyday life - can be made interesting if it is treated accordingly (written well, produced well, etc.) But lazy writing will bring down a work no matter how jazzy the original intent.

Thanks for validating this! (Great blog, btw!)
Anonymous said…
Your reviews are poorly written, you're a wanna be memoirist and the New York Times Book Review gave Please Excuse My Daughter a rave --hmm, who am I going to listen to?
(By the way, before writing a blog you should really learn to write --the errors in your prose make me cringe.)
Teddy Rose said…
This book sounds like such a snore. I can't imagine having to patience to read it, let alone put up with the twit. I'll pass. LOL!
Darcie said…
Thanks for your honest review. I have worked since I was 13 and don't think I would be able to relate to this book! :)
Anonymous said…
Gotta love how the person who left a an overly critical comment is "anonymous." I guess they didn't have the guts to stand behind their words.

I like your reviews, they seem well-written and fairly objective. You're good at giving "blurb" plot summaries that read like jacket covers and make me want to read the book. Then you give your opinion of the book's worth with some arguments to back you up. Great!
Holly said…
Of course a bad comment comes from an "anonymous" poster. We all know what Julie Klam does after her book goes down the shitter: She responds to book reviews on blogs to validate herself as a writer. I can see her next "memoir" title: "Why Don't They Like Me?" It will go on to say that she was raised in a household where women did not work, write, read, or think for themselves and so she is overcoming some personal triumph in just writing her first book, yet feels she left something out and has to write another. This new books will have grossly detailed pages about bowel movements and what joints crack in the morning when she crawls out of bed.

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