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’s writing has been featured in The Best American Travel Writing, the New York Times, Outside, Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Southern Living, Reader’s Digest, Image, Creative Nonfiction, The Mockingbird, The Green County Independent, The American Conservative, Brevity, Gulf Coast, and Oxford American, where he is also a contributing editor. He teaches at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and three children. Harper published his first memoir, The World’s Largest Man, which won the Thurber Prize for American Humor.
This funny and wise new memoir from Harrison Scott Key, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, will inspire laughter and hope for anyone who’s ever been possessed by a dream of what they want to be when they grow up.
Little-known author Mark Twain once said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why. He's talking about dreams here, the destiny that calls every living soul to some kind of greatness. What Mr. Twain doesn't say is: A dream is also a monster that wants to eat you. Nobody tells you this part of the American Dream — until now. In this new memoir, Congratulations Who Are You Again, readers join Harrison Scott Key on his outrageous journey to becoming a great American writer.
As a young boy in Mississippi, Harrison possessed many special gifts, such as the ability to read and complete college applications. And yet, throughout young adulthood, he failed at many vocations, until one day, after drinking perhaps too many beers and dusting off his King James Bible, he stumbled across a passage about a lonely pelican, which burst into flame inside him. In a mad blaze of holy illumination, Harrison realized his dream: to set the world afire with the light inside him. He would write a funny book. This was his dream.
With unforgettable wit and tenderness, Congratulations Who Are You Again is Harrison’s instructive tale of pursuing his destiny with relentless and often misguided devotion, transforming his life beyond all comprehension: He becomes a signer of autographs, a doer of interviews, a casher of checks that are "worth more money than my father had ever imagined any of us might see, this side of a drug-related felony."
On this journey, Harrison finds that as he gains the world, he stands on the precipice of losing everything that means the most: his family, his mind, his soul. Hilarious, honest, and absolutely practical, Congratulations Who Are You Again is a no-holds-barred look at the life of every ambitious human creature, whether you want to write books or make music, start a business or start a revolution. This is a book for the dreamers.
In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Hit with this devastating barrage, Tig took her grief onstage. Days after receiving her cancer diagnosis, she broke new comedic ground, opening an unvarnished set with the words: “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer.” The set went viral instantly and was ultimately released as Tig’s sophomore album, Live, which sold one hundred thousand units in just six weeks and was later nominated for a Grammy.
Now, the wildly popular star takes stock of that no good, very bad year—a difficult yet astonishing period in which tragedy turned into absurdity and despair transformed into joy. An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I’m Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman’s journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.