The riotous, tender story of a bookish Mississippi boy and his flawed, Bunyanesque father, told with the comic verve of David Sedaris and the deft satire of Mark Twain or Roy Blount, Jr.
Harrison Scott Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious, Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father—a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, “a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas, and paved roads, and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: How to fight, how to work, how to cheat, how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers.”
Harrison, with his love of books and excessive interest in hugging, couldn’t have been less like Pop, and when it became clear that he was not able to kill anything very well or otherwise make his father happy, he resolved to become everything his father was not: an actor, a Presbyterian, and a doctor of philosophy. But when it was time to settle down and start a family of his own, Harrison started to view his father in a new light, and realized—for better and for worse—how much of his old man he’d absorbed.
Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World’s Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir—the story of a boy’s struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsized role model, a grown man’s reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.
Harrison Scott Key is a contributing editor for the Oxford American and a professor of writing at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and three children. His humor and nonfiction have been featured in The Best American Travel Writing and numerous magazines.
It took Bonnie McFarlane a lot of time, effort, and tequila to get to where she is today. Before she starred on Last Comic Standing and directed her own films, she was an inappropriately loud tomboy growing up on her parents’ farm in Cold Lake, Canada, wetting her pants during standardized tests and killing chickens. Desperate to find “her people”—like-minded souls who wouldn’t judge her because she was honest, ruthless, and okay, sometimes really rude—Bonnie turned to comedy. In her explosively funny and no-holds-barred memoir, Bonnie tells it like it is, and lays bare all of her smart (and her not-so-smart) decisions along her way to finding her friends and her comedic voice.
From fistfights in elementary school to riding motorcycles to the World Famous Comic Strip, to Late Night with David Letterman, and through to her infamous “c” word bit on Last Comic Standing, You’re Better Than Me is her funny and outrageous trip through the good, bad, and ugly of her life in comedy. McFarlane doesn’t always keep her mouth shut when she should, but at least she makes people laugh. And that’s all that matters, right?
Parents, do you often think that if your kids had to grow up the way you did—without iPads, 70-inch flatscreen TVs, American Girl dolls, and wifi in the climate controlled minivan—that they might actually be better off? Do you feel underappreciated or ignored? Do you worry you’re raising a bunch of spoiled softies who will never know how to do anything themselves—because you do everything for them? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need Daddy, Stop Talking.
Adam rips parenthood a new one, telling it straight about what adults must do if they don’t want to have to support their kids forever. Using his own crappy childhood as a cautionary tale, and touting the pitfalls of the kind of helicopter parenting so pervasive today, Daddy, Stop Talking is the only parenting book you should ever read. Here, too, is sage advice to Adam’s own kids—and to future parents—on what matters most: dating; drinking and drugs; buying your first house and car; puberty; and what kind of assholes his kids (and yours) should avoid becoming. Even if his own son and daughter pretty much ignore everything he says, you shouldn’t. And you’re welcome. Again.