Fifteen funny and perceptive essays about one woman’s messy path to finding her footing in another country, by Irish comedian, author, actor and podcaster Maeve Higgins.
Maeve Higgins was already a bestselling author and comedian in Ireland when, at the grand age of thirty-one, she left the only home sheʼd ever known in search of something more. Several years on, these essays form a smart, warm and revealing story of how Maeve found herself, literally and figuratively, in New York City. Here are stories of learning to live with yourself while youʼre still figuring out how to love yourself, of not being able to afford a dress for the ball and of the true significance of realising what sort of shelter dog you would be. Self-aware and full of her signature banter, Maeve in America is also a fearless exploration of some of todayʼs most urgent concerns: identity, migration, politics and activism.
"Aside from getting champagne in your eye, or being snapped at by your pet toucan, bemoaning a lack of purpose is the most privileged problem in the known universe, so I won't drone on about it," writes comedian Higgins in the first essay of her wickedly funny collection. In the 14 pieces that follow, Higgins delivers on her promise to reach beyond the self while addressing such topics as Rent the Runway, a designer-clothes rental service, and the Muslim travel ban with incisive humor and deep humility. In her exceptional essay, "Pen as Gun," about teaching a comedy workshop in Iraq, questions that begin with the self give rise to political and global considerations: "What if comedy, and creativity, these nebulous things I've devoted all these years to, are, in the grand scheme of things, unhelpful? Or even pointless?" While Higgins wisely steers clear of reducing insight to adage "Comics taking themselves seriously have always made me laugh" her commitment to wrestling openly and ethically with personhood and privilege suggests "that we are not alone, that we have this common language." Higgins has the rare gift of being able to meaningfully engage with politics and social ills while remaining legitimately funny.