Deciding to do nothing in 2014 turns out to be something. I can’t win.

I decided this year that I wasn’t going to have any New Year’s resolutions. I’m not sure why or even when I decided this. It’s possible that in the weeks leading up to the end of the year I was busy thinking about other things. Except I forgot to think about what to get for Pam for Christmas, so what WAS I thinking?

And just to be sure that I wasn’t accidentally having any New Year’s resolutions, I checked Wikipedia to make sure that I understood what I was talking about. And as it turns out, people for thousands of years, even before Jesus, have promised themselves that they’ll do better in the New Year. They plan to repay their debts or to return borrowed objects. No one was trying to lose ten pounds, but it was ancient Greece so no one needed to. You know, they were all Greek gods, remember? Yeah, I didn’t, because I wasn’t thinking.

So it was true, I wasn’t making any promises or New Year’s resolutions to myself. At least not on January 1st. Because I know better than that. And I don’t want to change. I would like to stay exactly the same. Generally happy. But no, that wasn’t going to happen, either. Because I bought this book. And I read it, which is an accomplishment in itself. Except that it’s a book that is mostly full of pictures, so I can’t really pat myself on the back too hard for that.

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This is one of the saddest fucking books I have ever read. And also the funniest. Together. In one book. The pictures are ridiculous, as you can tell by the cover. And the stories, except the ones about the dogs, are gut-wrenching.

The book contains two posts about depression, one of which is also about suicide. And at least three of the chapters are about how much Allie hates herself. And it’s all funny. But sad. And I’m guessing you’re getting that part, because I keep saying it over and over again. But that’s also what the truth is: Comedy and tragedy. Shakespeare figured that out a long time ago, but we don’t listen. So people need to keep writing books so we can learn this over and over again.

And ironically, although this book made me cry it also made me hopeful. First, I am hopeful that Allie will start to like herself a bit more, because she wrote an awesome book with funny pictures and a lot of truth in it. But also because I am writing a funny book about a mostly horrible experience, and I wasn’t sure that it would work. But now I think it can.

And bonus, Allie’s book also proves that you can write a book about nothing, mostly. There is a whole chapter about trying to clean the house and then playing on the internet instead. Like I said: This is truth, people. Gospel, even.

Anyway, this isn’t really even a blog post. It’s more like a book review. And it’s not really about New Year’s resolutions or the lack of New Year’s resolutions, except to say that you can have no plans to change yourself, and then be changed anyway.

Also, don’t stop buying books. That’s not the point of this post, either.

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This book just punched me in the heart muscle. So I’m hitting it back with this post.

I just finished a really great book, Breeding in Captivity, about a perfectly normal woman and a perfectly normal man who are trying to start a family. Except they are not that normal, because it doesn’t really work out the way they planned. And I’ll leave it at that, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. (They win!)

And if you’re wondering what I mean by great, it made me laugh out loud. And then it made me cry out loud. Dammit! And now I can’t write a sarcastic post about it, because that just wouldn’t work from a strictly literary point-of-view. So I’m writing a mostly serious review, right here. Don’t ask me why I’m not writing it on Amazon. Actually go ahead. Here is why I’m not writing it on Amazon: 1) I don’t like assigning stars. It’s so reductionist. 2) I am more popular than Amazon, in my own mind 3) I dislike long reviews on Amazon, but on my blog they are wonderful 4) I don’t want to get in a legal battle with Amazon when the awesomeness of this review goes viral and blows up their site and 5) Haven’t I already given you enough, Amazon? My money? My time? My stars?

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But enough about me and Amazon. Let’s talk about what I think of the book. It’s funny. Here is an example:

The author, Stacy Bolt, must fill out one of the many forms that those of us who don’t get knocked up in the back seat of a Ford Escort must fill out. And on the form is the question: “How do you emotionally support your partner?” Her answer: “I compliment him on the size of his penis. I also pretend to agree with him when he claims that graphic novels are a legitimate form of literature.”

Stacy (we’re on a first-name basis now, because we have been talking about her husband’s penis) is just a teensy bit irreverent about this whole process, and it’s completely awesome. And then sometimes she’s not, and it’s also completely awesome, like this time:

“Most people go through their lives assuming that having a family is a natural thing. Hey, guess what? It’s not. It’s hard fought and won. It’s rare and precious and unfairly fragile. It has nothing to do with determination and everything to do with luck…. Whatever you have — whether you’re the Bradys or the Bundys — take stock in your luck and love it just a little more this year.”

And if that doesn’t punch you in the heart, I don’t know what would, you hard-hearted jerk. Ok. I’ll write an Amazon review. It’ll be number 22. Five stars.

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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