Book: Please Excuse My Daughter: A Memoir
Author: Julie Klam
Type of Work: Memoir
Why Did I Read This Book: God help me, but I picked out this book from the store shelves because the dust jacket is a bright orange. It caught my eye. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Also, I am a fan of a good memoir.
Availability: Published in Riverhead Books in 2008, you can get a copy here:
Comments: Oh sweet sanity, I spent a day just hating this book and hating Julie Klam. Julie, whose less than organized life, initially at least, tells one of those stories where a person, who seems completely incompetent and proud of it, caroms through life, getting glamorous jobs (she was an intern on the Letterman show, worked for a famous agent and spoke to superstars on the telephone daily, interviewed with Barbra Streisand, and ended up writing for VH1’s Pop-up Video, all sort of effortlessly), being thin naturally and having rich parents.
Klam is a woman who self-admittedly had difficulty growing up, but even when her parents cut the financial cord, that cord cutting included a job at her dad’s insurance agency. She had the best clothes, a huge support network and did I mention she is thin and pretty? Yet she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life, sort of embraced her lack of ambition and ran with it for years. She was as foreign to me as a Martian. Her whole life until her early 30s was a refutation to everything I lived. It was like, through the printed page, Julie Klam was shouting, “Hey you! You over there! The short, chubby one who put herself through school on loans and selling shoes, the one who had a job at 14 and has never once worn Halston. My long thin legs and I give the finger to you and your Protestant work ethic!”
Gah, I hated her. I threw the book across the room and ran a hot bath. And spite of myself, I picked the book back up and started reading again. And dammit if I didn’t start liking Klam a little. She’s got a dry wit, a self-effacing humor, and an ability to spin a yarn about the mundane and make it entertaining. She’s also sort of charming. She eventually grew up and found her way in life, and in the process of telling her tale, made me respect her. Most interesting, her story made me think about some of my political and social opinions, one of the last things I expected to happen from the first few fluffy, sentimental chapters.