Welcome to the perverse and hilarious mind of Sara Barron. In The Harm in Asking, she boldly addresses the bizarre indignities of everyday life: from invisible pets to mobster roommates, from a hatred of mayonnaise to an unrequited love of k.d. lang, from the ruinous side effect of broccoli to the sheer delight of a male catalogue model. In a voice that is incisive and entirely her own, Barron proves herself the master of the awkward, and she achieves something wonderful and rare: a book that makes you laugh out loud. Simply put: if you read it, you will never be the same.*
*That's not true. You'll probably stay the same. But you'll have laughed a lot. And you'll have learned a fun fact about Jessica Simpson's home spray. See? You didn't even know she had a home spray! The learning has already begun.
Comedian Barron (People Are Unappealing) plies her trade in this collection of personal essays, arranged in a loose chronology of her life. In the first essay, "Scrub Toilet Super-Super," Barron recounts the idiosyncratic routine she developed at age ten of locking herself in the bathroom, having a snack on the toilet while talking to her imaginary friends. Another essay describes a summer abroad in France, where Barron pursues a belief that "lesbians were but magical confections that brought joy to all the land" by masturbating to Tilda Swinton. Next comes her New York years, where seemingly every bizarre roommate/unfortunate sex scenario that could possibly happen to a young, plucky, and penniless woman alone in the big city, occurs. The spectrum of life experiences on display is impressive, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments though out the collection. Fans of the Chelsea Handler/Tina Fey awkward-and-unashamed sense of humor will find a kindred spirit.