30 Books in 30 Days: 8.17.11

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker

The title got me.  I picked it up off the shelf at the bookstore.  When I was reading this book, I kept thinking that the stories were good but that they seemed kind of “thin” to me.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.  They seemed like they were funny but that they also kind of sped along.  It was only after I looked up Elna Baker online that I realized that she is a stand up comic. Her stories in this memoir are like little stand-up vignettes!  They go for the punch-line pretty quickly. And, as she reveals in her book, she did work for the David Letterman show.  Part of me thinks that this might account for the fact that she got this published.  But, on the other hand, more power to her!

Elna’s life is the perfect material for stand-up or memoir.  She is a fish-out-of-water for much of her 20s as she tries to navigate being a Mormon in New York.  What I liked about the book?  Her accounts of being an overweight person and dealing with various diets and other procedures are not the focus of the book even though this is something she struggles with for a good deal of her life.  This book could very well have tried to capitalize upon these weight-loss ups and downs in an attempt to sell copies on the heels of hits like “Biggest Loser” etc.  But instead, this book really is about a woman’s attempt to find herself period.  Dating, religion, weight-loss, career–all of these are components to her very funny memoir.  And, if you get a chance, check her out on her website.  Watching some of the videos of her doing actual stand-up, I got to see her comic delivery which was good in the book and even more hilarious in person.

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