Fiction Ruined My Family

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"Beautifully paced . . . heartbreaking and hilarious."—USA Today 

Augusten Burroughs meets Mary Karr: a deeply funny and wickedly entertaining family memoir.

The youngest of four daughters in an old, celebrated St. Louis family-- of prominent journalists and politicians on one side, debutantes and equestrians on the other-- Jeanne Darst grew up hearing stories of past grandeur. And the message she internalized as a young girl was clear: While things might be a bit tight for us right now, it’s only temporary. Soon her father would sell the Great American Novel and reclaim the family’s former glory.

The Darsts move from St. Louis to New York, and Jeanne’s father writes one novel, then another, which don’t find publishers. This, combined with her mother’s burgeoning alcoholism, lead to financial disaster and divorce. And as Jeanne becomes an adult, she is horrified to discover that she is not only a drinker like her mother, but a writer like her father. At first, and for years, she embraces both activities— and until she can stop putting drinking and writing ahead of everything else, it’s a questionable choice.

Ultimately, Darst sets out to discover whether a person can have the writing without the ruin, whether it’s possible to be both sober and creative, ambitious and happy, a professional author and a parent. Filled with brilliantly flawed, idiosyncratic characters and punctuated by Darst’s irreverent eye for absurdity, Fiction Ruined My Family is a lovingly told, wickedly funny portrait of an unconventional life.
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About the author

Jeanne Darst is a writer/performer who has written for The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, and performed her solo plays in bars, barns, and living rooms across the United States. An excerpt from this book aired on This American Life. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Additional Information

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Published on
Sep 29, 2011
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Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Parenting / General
Humor / Topic / Marriage & Family
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A debut collection of witty, biting essays laced with a surprising warmth, from Jen Mann, the writer behind the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat
People I want to punch in the throat:
• anyone who feels the need to bling her washer and dryer
• humblebraggers
• people who treat their pets like children
Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.

Advance praise for People I Want to Punch in the Throat
“People I Want to Punch in the Throat is so good that it’ll make you want to adopt all the cats in the world. I’m not sure about the correlation, but it’s that good. It should come with a warning.”—Jenny Lawson, author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
“Jen Mann has an amazing way of telling stories that will make you cringe and burst out laughing at the same time. From swinger parties to racist toddlers, she makes the suburbs unbelievably funny.”—Karen Alpert, author of I Heart My Little A-Holes
“Jen Mann says the things we’re all too afraid to say. Her honest and hilarious writing style reminds me of David Sedaris and Tina Fey.”—Robin O’Bryant, author of Ketchup Is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves
“Jen Mann’s shrewd and unrelenting assault on the absurdity of suburban life is an honest peek into the occasional nightmare that is part of living the American dream. I love Jen. I wish she was my neighbor. It’s so refreshing to know that I’m not the only one who wants to punch almost everyone in the f***ing throat.”—Nicole Knepper, author of Moms Who Drink And Swear

From the Trade Paperback edition.
The #1 New York Times Bestseller

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from Aziz Ansari, the star of Master of None and one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?” 

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
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