When I bought this book of essays by Sarah Vowell, it didn’t occur to me that the 2002 publishing date would be so noticeable while reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading The Partly Cloudy Patriot, but it was thoroughly weird being thrust back into the days of the Bush v. Gore clusterfuck and the years leading up to 9-11. I was a non-voting teenager back then, so while I remember the highlights, I wasn’t exactly keeping up with politics.
There is a lot of talk about Gore, but it’s all very interesting because Vowell’s unique voice makes it interesting. There are essays on past political figures, wars, overt patriotism, Canada, family political differences, an eerily prescient look at Tom Cruise, and many other fascinating and relatable topics. She made me think deeper about topics I’ve never given a second thought and recognize beliefs I didn’t know I held.
I read this on audiobook because I love Vowell’s voice and really loved her Lafayette book earlier this year. Vowell’s delivery, as always, was on point. Her timing was perfect and her delivery engaging. A book of essays is especially well suited to audio because they’re small chunks perfect for any podcast lover. My only gripe is that there were longish musical interludes by They Might Be Giants and it was painful to listen to. Not my kind of music, but I know they have a lot of fans and that could easily be a highlight to a different listener.