Print Edition: June 19, 2013
Kelly Oxford has become a household name. Maybe not so much in households that don’t have or don’t know about Twitter, but for those tweeting households, Kelly Oxford’s name is spoken in hushed and reverent tones.
Or maybe not so many hushed and reverent tones. Those who like her love her, like magician David Copperfield and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. And those who hate her tell her, often in misspelled rants, and then she retweets them.
For those ignorant buffoons who tweet their hates at her, they clearly have not been following her for very long and they also clearly don’t know about the many ways she’s been self-publishing since GeoCities was a thing back in the ‘90s. Because if you’re a fan of Oxford, you know her irreverent and brutally honest musings of parenthood, life and pop culture are brilliant – not hate-worthy.
This is why I was so excited to find out she’d published her book, Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar. (That and it gives chills of excitement when I get a chance to read another comedy book by another hilarious lady.)
I knew Oxford could blog since I follow her on Tumblr and gleefully anticipate her entries when she records what her children say while watching films like Forrest Gump, Dirty Dancing and Grease. And I knew she could microblog, since I follow her @kellyoxford and laugh at her oft-misunderstood tweets. But as with any internet-to-book release, I was wondering how those skills would translate into an over 300-page collection of memoir-esque essays on her life.
The result was something I wouldn’t have guessed – brutally honest and daringly heartfelt. It did, as I somewhat predicted, make me cough-laugh while on breaks at work and annoy friends and family by reading out excerpts that made no humourous sense outside of the context of her story and style – like her husband’s sombre warnings before their trip to Disneyland.
There were some chapters that made me squeal with delight at the references I know and love, like the allusions to Sound of Music in “She’s a Darling, She’s a Demon, She’s a Lamb.” There were other chapters that made me gasp-laugh – an audience reaction Oxford has perfected, especially in the chapter entitled “I Peed My Pants and Threw Up on a Chinese Man.” And then there was that one chapter that surprised me most of all – the chapter that made me cry.
In “The Backup Plan” Oxford recounts her decision to go back to school (having only ever received her high school diploma) in order to get qualifications for a higher-paying job than a waitress in case her now-husband were to leave her a widowed mother of one. In true Oxford style, its laugh-out-loud moments are just the comedic relief that break up her stories as a student training to be a rehabilitation assistant in a senior care centre and a brain injury care home. I was not expecting a comedy book by an author of brashly humorous tweets to be able to make me cry.
So congratulations, Kelly. You got me crying in the bath for reasons other than PMS.
Whether you love her or hate her, follow her or have never heard of her, it’s worth it to glimpse into the world of this Canadian comic by flipping through the pages I could not put down and snort out in laughter while in crowded waiting rooms or on the beach.