Overall, kind of meh about this one. Parts of Merrill Markoe’s memoir, Cool, Calm and Contentious, were very, very funny. The bits with her dogs, in particular, had me chuckling. l. She discusses all of the things that she allows her dogs to do — wake her up at the crack of dawn to eat, hog every inch of the bed — and asks us to imagine a human being exhibiting similar behavior.
Unfortunately, most of the rest of the book wasn’t very good. I did enjoy her stories about her mother’s narcissism — how it affected her growing up, and how Merrill’s realization of her mother’s disorder allowed her to move past wanting a real relationship with the woman. It was well written, and speaks to a common mental disorder that really can destroy peoples’ families. She then goes on, however, to list comedian after comedian who suffered from similar relatives. It reads less like a memoir, and more like a history of funny people with terrible mothers. Honestly, I don’t need to read quotes from fifteen other comedians in your memoir, Merrill. Tell me something about you!
I had heard of Cool, Calm & Contentious originally when Markoe appeared on The Daily Show. She came off as very funny and bright, yet only some of that translated to her writing. Goodreads recommends another book of hers, What The Dogs Have Taught Me, with higher ratings. Since she originated the segment “Stupid Pet Tricks”, maybe her writing remains strongest when discussing her relationship with animals.