Nan on Jean

WRITERS ISSUE: Bay Times "Straight Talk" columnist Nan Parks reviews the first book by the Onion's Jean Teasdale

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arts@sfbg.com

WRITERS ISSUE So this is my very first book review ever (!) unless you count the book review I had to do in school on The Yearling, so bear with me because I'm a beginner. But anyway the title of the book is A Book of Jean's Own (St. Martin's Griffin, 288 pages, $14.99) and the author is Jean Teasdale who lives in an apartment somewhere with her husband Rick and her two cats, one was named Garfield which I'm guessing she took from the comic strip and I forget the name of her other cat. You'll find out if you read her book!

Now I liked this book very much and someone told me it was supposed to be "satiric" but to me it just felt like meeting an old friend and sharing a little "wit and wisdom." I must say I got quite a few chuckles from Jean's stories and now that I'm writing this I remember from The Yearling that the hard part of writing a book review is that you're not allowed to say exactly what's in the book because that would spoil it for everyone else so I can't actually tell you the stories here. Sorry!

I have to tell you one thing because I just can't resist and it's that Jean shaved off all her hair one day by accident even "down there" and I had to laugh out loud when I read that. Can you imagine?

Now I don't know about the guys, but I suspect a lot of the gals that read this book might have a few pieces of advice for Jean.

For one thing, Jean has Type 2 diabetes and still eats rich chocolate desserts and I looked that up on the Internet and found out that it's a very serious disease and that people who have that should not be eating sweets at all (which is what I thought before I even checked). For heaven's sake Jean put a few recipes in her book and the "Oooey gooey choco-cocoa-mocha cupcakes with raspberry filling and coconut-cream-cheese-cola frosting" has tons of sugar! Jean even insists that you make the frosting with real cola instead of diet even though I think Coke Zero tastes just as good as Coke and I even like it better than Diet Coke and either one would be a fine substitute although I think Diet Pepsi has a nasty aftertaste and I wouldn't use that.

And I also thought that Jean could be bit more strict with Rick because he seems to get drunk and stay out after work quite a bit and I gather from Jean that he's not exactly the romantic type, but girls! You know we've got to work on our husbands now and then to get them to "shape up" and I know when Doug seems distracted I have a few tricks up my sleeve like a certain pout that isn't obvious and it's kind of hard to do but after 28 years I've "got it down" as the kids say and it works!

Anyway Jean's a doll and I'm planning on reading her book all over again from Page One because sometimes I don't "get" everything there is to "get" in a book the first time around and it's helpful to read it twice. And there was one part where Jean was wondering if writing the book was worth it and if she really had anything important to say and my heart went out to her and I wanted to scream through the book into her ear and tell her that she was doing a great job and that you don't have to have something "important" to say in order for it to be well worth saying!