"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry

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Summary: One woman's memoir of her divorce and eventual recovery.

Just the title alone is fun (and accurate), but the book was a feel-good read, despite being about divorce. Laurie comes home from work, expecting to share a silly story about how her underwear broke at work, and her husband announced he was leaving. Laurie is devastated and is left with an expensive house and her husband's four cats.

Laurie, with the long-distance help of her supportive parents, moves into a smaller house right before Christmas. She spends most of her time drinking wine while the cats circle around her. She goes through many of the stages of grief, anger, bargaining, drinking, isolation, and even tries to give herself bangs, which her hairdresser sternly forbids.

Laurie's patient and supportive friends stick with her through her depression, perhaps longer than I would have. One of them encourages her to try knitting and when Laurie finally leaves the house and ventures into a knitting store, it changes her life. She knits crazy creations for her cats, scarves (in LA!) and lots of sassy knit wear while being nurtured by her local Stitch-n-Bitch group.

Laurie Perry writes with Southern wit, much like Celia Rivenbark, whom I adore. Laurie's sadness and misery is written with such honesty and humor that I was identifying with the author and laughing at the same time. It's not a complex book, you won't get veiled metaphors or run on sentences that go for a page, but you will laugh and you will feel hope.

Not only are the discussion questions at the back of the book helpful and thought provoking, but Laurie provides knitting patterns and pictures of her creations. I've tried knitting and I understand how intense and excited the knitting community gets, but knitting's not for me. I'm also not divorced, and will never have cats.  Despite what we don't have in common, this book was worth breaking my "no divorce memoirs!" vow.

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