Lollygagger’s #CBR5 Review #21: You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black

This is my first memory of Michael Ian Black.

240 Dollars Worth of Pudding

You may be more familiar with his work as one of the funnier talking heads in the VH1 “I Love the” series of shows.

Based on my love of his work on The State and his aforementioned VH1 run, I thought I would check out the audio version of his book “You’re Not Doing It Right.” I was not aware he had written other books until referenced one, but based on this work I might check one out of the library to read.

This particular book was not engrossing, although I don’t think that it’s because it wasn’t well-written. I think I would have enjoyed it more as a written book, where I could read a full chapter at a time when I had the chance, instead of listening in chunks a few days apart. The book jumps around quite a bit, and while that worked for me in other similar books, for some reason I wasn’t feeling it in this one.

As I mentioned, Mr. Black has written other books, and I’m not sure what was included in those. This one focuses a lot on how he met his wife, what their courtship was like, their marriage, and their intense fights. It’d be really interesting to get her perspective on some of his characterizations of their marriage. He is not necessarily kind to himself (he seems pretty aware of his shortcomings) but still – I wonder how she feels about this.

Some chapters were just sort of meh, but many did really touch me, either with a lot of laughter or some pretty serious shit. His take on his dad’s death when he was a young boy was really interesting, sad and sweet, while his frankness about dealing with a colicky infant was refreshing, funny, and a little heartbreaking. And, as expected, the death of a family pet was enough to rouse some tears.

So what is it that kept me from fully connecting? Perhaps I’m just distracted. Perhaps the way I listened to it didn’t do it justice. I can’t give it the higher ratings but I definitely think it is worth a read. And even though his delivery is fantastic, unless you’re going to be strict about stopping after a chapter and not in the middle, I’d say read the book instead of listening to it.

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