Saturday, September 14, 2013

Family drama with a wink

kw: book reviews, nonfiction, essays, humor, family relations

As writers the mother and daughter don't compete, they complement. Philadelphian Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca Serritella write "Chick Wit" for The Philadelphia Enquirer. You know how it goes. Write a column long enough, and you can collect a few dozen into a book. These witty ladies have been at it long enough that this is their fourth book together. I don't now what other writing the daughter does, but the mother is also a mystery writer, with 19 titles so far.

'Nuffa that. Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim is a great read. One might say that Lisa and Francesca are following a trail blazed by Erma Bombeck, one of my favorite writers, though a generation earlier than Lisa. They write with the same pointed humor, but with even more warmth and joy. While their most frequent subject is each other, they discuss friends, pets, travel (with each other or with others), food, and emotions—they're Italian, so feelings worth having are worth having loudly.

If I count right, the book contains 73 articles. Short ones of 2-4 pages. That made it very well suited to the way I often read: squeezing in a few pages between other stuff, or even during TV commercials. A session on "the throne" is good for 2 or 3 items (don't tell me you don't take a book in there).

There isn't a lot else I can say. I didn't pick out a favorite essay, because it would be like picking my favorite day out of the last ten days of almost perfect early fall weather.

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