My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places (Review)

November 5, 2014

Book cover for "My Planet" by Mary Roach.Title: My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places

Author: Mary Roach

Narrator: Angela Dawe

Publication Year: 2013

Pages: 160 (audio length: 4 hours 41 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays

Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com

From the cover:

From acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach comes the complete collection of her “My Planet” articles published in Reader’s Digest. She was a hit columnist in the magazine, and this book features the articles she wrote in that time. Insightful and hilarious, Mary explores the ins and outs of the modern world: marriage, friends, family, food, technology, customer service, dental floss, and ants — she leaves no element of the American experience unchecked for its inherent paradoxes, pleasures, and foibles.

I was pulled into Roach’s work by her science writing. I’ve read and loved every other book – Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and SexGulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void – she’s written.

Even though the stories in this collection mostly aren’t about science-related topics, they’re still completely hilarious. This time, Roach takes all kinds of things from her daily life and makes them into little anecdotes, and they’re great. I was in stitches almost the whole time I was listening to her.

Granted, some of the experiences she talks about are really only funny to people of a certain age and persuasion – say, middle-ish age and married with kids – but even for me, a 20-something single girl, I found amusement in pretty much everything, even if I couldn’t relate to it directly. There was also a sense of “oh, how cute” when she was talking about things that would only be applicable to the generation older than me – things related to working a computer or other technology, for instance.

Even so, I found My Planet to be amusing and strangely interesting. Roach has a talent for taking the most mundane topics and managing to make them into something funny for the rest of us.

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