Tag Archives: Michael Ian Black

Book Review: You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black (4/5)

6 Mar

I think it was just after I finished reading Bossypants that I added this book to my TBR. I was on a comedian memoir high and Michael Ian Black seemed like the logical next step. I love his dry sarcasm. I found the book a few months later on the sale shelf at a bookstore and picked up my copy. It’s been a few years, but I’m glad I finally grabbed time to read it!

Cover Image via Goodreads

Cover Image via Goodreads

You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black

Summary from Goodreads:

Darkly humorous and told with raw honesty, You’re Not Doing it Right is Michael’s debut memoir. In it, he takes on his childhood, his marriage, his children, and his career with unexpected candor and deadpan wit, as he shares the neuroses that have plagued him since he was a kid and how they shaped him into the man he is today.

In this funny-because-it’s-true essay collection, Michael says the kinds of things most people are afraid to admit, and as a husband and father living in the suburbs, asks the question so many of us ask ourselves at one point or another. How did I end up here?

This book was exactly what I expected and wanted from it. Black is self-deprecating and honest in a way I don’t think a lot of people would be. He fights with his wife and he’s going to tell you about it. It’s not always funny but when it is, he’ll make the joke. He goes through his life in semi-chronological order. There are times he goes back because of something that’s happening to him that causes him to reminisce but I found this book pretty well-organized. I’ve said before, I like logical order. I also like when people can be honest about things that suck and Black did that. Some things aren’t funny, like your dad dying or your sister having a mental disability. I felt he treated things with the respect that needed to be and shared a lot of his life and the parts of it that aren’t funny.

I think Black portrayed himself and his wife very realistically. A lot of their relationship wasn’t a perfect and they had to work at it. Some things were funny and cute and he found time to make jokes about them. I was surprised about how ‘Stepford’ his life seemed at times. I’m used to thinking of comedians as either too rich for childcare or so hipster they wouldn’t live in Connecticut. I guess I need to stop stereotyping famous people.

Black’s wife, Martha, sounds awesome. She’s pushy and sarcastic, but I think you’d have to be to marry him. She sounds like a riot and the way their relationship started makes me want to gossip with her. I wasn’t a big fan of how she and Michael got together, but I respected the way they raised their children when they were young and she seemed awesome to me.

Black talked about not feeling he fit in when he was in high school and I could understand that. As much as I wanted to be friends with my friends, the people I respected, you always feel that pull to be ‘cool’ and have the ‘popular kids’ like you, too. The chapter where he fought Dale stuck out to me, I could see if happening so easily that it frightened me. Black was easy to relate to and he portrayed his life as a misfit very well.

I thought the stories of Black’s life as a father and husband were most enjoyable. Buying a BMW and having a fussy infant were funny and down-to-earth. Not many people can relate to the guy who went into entertainment with no degree and were successful. He would have a very limited audience if he focused on this part of his life. But being a family man is relatable. I could see these things running through my dad’s head and I liked the humor in it.

Black’s dating life wasn’t as interesting to me. He seemed like a pig when he talked about the college student who wouldn’t be intimate with him and he was unrelatable to me. I wish he’d stuck more to his adult life when he was likable though more pessimistic.

Even though Black is pessimistic and down about most things in his book, he still has a good life and he admits it. He has a wife he loves (most of the time) and two kids he admires. Even when he’s making dark jokes and ripping on himself, he’s still a happy person. It’s his internal outlook, not what he expresses, that really seems to matter.

Writer’s Takeaway: I would be wary of a book that adopted this tone if it were by someone who wasn’t known for bleak humor. Black pulls it off because that’s his personality and someone picking up this book likely knows that. If I published a book, on the other hand, and people didn’t understand my brand of humor, that might not find it amusing. Black kept his voice and didn’t sacrifice for book sales, which I can appreciate, but I would caution less-famous writers from adopting a strong tone as he did.

This book made me laugh and was great on vacation. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: ‘You’re Not Doing It Right’ by Michael Ian Black | Bookpeople’s Blog
Lollygagger’s #CBR5 Review #21: You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black | Cannonball Read 5

WWW Wednesday, 1-March-2017

1 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


nightsoldiersCurrently reading: Nothing on Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. We don’t have any trips planned for a bit (yay!) so it might be a while before we’re able to get back to this one at all.
I’ve squeezed in a bit of The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler while my husband was at a convention and I was eating dinners alone. I’m really enjoying it, maybe the favorite of my current reads.
With some long runs, I’ve made decent progress with The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. I love linguistics so this book is fascinating for a language nerd like me! It’s a bit slow, but I’m learning a lot from it.
I started Night Soldiers by Alan Furst! It came in at the library and it’s a log longer than I expected. I’m thinking I might have to renew it and because it’s an ILL, I only get one renewal. Time for some speed reading!

youre-not-doingRecently finished: I finished up You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black. It was a fun, sarcastic read from Black, exactly what I was expecting from him. I think I’ve got my fill of comedian memoirs for a bit so I probably won’t read another for a bit, but I did enjoy them. My review is likely coming tomorrow.

I posted my review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling on Thursday. I’m hoping I surprise no one when I say I gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars and completely loved it. I was thinking of a book-to-movie review, but they’re exactly the same so in this case, I’ll pass.

Reading Next: No plans. I’m not even halfway through any of my current books so it seems premature to make guesses. We’ll have to see what the future brings!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-February-2017

22 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.youre-not-doing


Currently reading: We didn’t make any progress on Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs during our trip this weekend. We had a few things on our minds and used the time to talk instead. There are worse things in this world!
Not much with The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler because I’ve been out-of-town so much but I’m still really enjoying the book and I hope to keep moving on it!
I started another comedian memoir because I needed something light to read over my vacation. I grabbed You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black from my shelves. I enjoyed his commentary on the VH1 I Love The… series and I watched Wet Hot American Summer last summer and remembered how funny he was. The book is a great delivery of his dry humor and I’m really liking it.
I also just started The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. I’m glad Bryson seems as fascinated by the English language as I am! Sometimes I find myself wondering how much money a linguist could make because it’s so fun!

fantastic-beastsRecently finished: I finished Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling last Thursday. It was a super quick and fun read. I’m super excited for the movie to come out so I can watch it again from home this time! I’ll likely post a review tomorrow.
I also finished The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom on Thursday, it was a big day for me! This was a good audiobook and I really liked that Albom narrated it himself. I posted my review on Monday so please go check it out and see why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

I posted one other review, Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars, please check it out!

nightsoldiersReading Next: I know I’ve been saying it for weeks but I picked up Night Soldiers by Alan Furst from the library last night! I’m going to start in on this one as soon as I finish Black’s book, which I hope is really soon!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!