So I love Mary Roach — I’ve read all of her other books, and her writing style, sense of humor and insatiable curiosity make for great reading. I was hoping that My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places would be like a behind the scenes of her research for her other books. It’s not, but it’s still a fun read.
My Planet actually consists of essays written by Roach for Reader’s Digest in the early 2000s. So the topics tend to be a little mundane, and in some cases, a little dated. She talks about her husband Ed a lot — he’s a neat freak, and she’s not; he loves baseball and she doesn’t understand it! She struggles with technology — a Roomba attacks her possessions, she doesn’t like the internet, etc. Goofy family stories — road trips, interactions with her teenage stepdaughters, and so on. It’s all pretty normal, easy-to-digest (ha!) stuff.
But damn, some of it really is pretty funny. Roach has this way of writing that isn’t really sarcastic…it’s more like she’s welcoming you in on the joke, which often comes as her expense. Some of the stories had me literally laughing out loud — hard to do while running, since I listened to most of this on a treadmill. Side note on the audio version — the narrator is kind of awful. I bought this off Audible instead of using a credit because it was on sale for $4.95. The narrator sounds like she’s constantly shouting, while possibly plugging her nose. So maybe read the paperback, okay?