Finding Humor in the Oddest Places

By: Mary Roach

Published: April 4, 2013

Follow New York Times bestselling author Mary Roach — but be careful not to trip — as she weaves through personal anecdotes and everyday musings riddled with her uncanny wit and amazingly analytical eye. These essays, which found a well-deserved home within the pages of Reader’s Digest as the column “My Planet,” detail the inner workings of hypochondriacs, hoarders, and compulsive cheapskates. (Did we mention neurotic interior designers and professional list-makers?) For Roach, humor is hidden in the most unlikely places, which means that nothing is off limits. Whether she is dwelling on her age or talking about the pros and cons of a bedroom night light — “A married couple can best be defined as a unit of people whose sleep habits are carefully engineered to keep each other awake” — Roach finds a lesson, a slice of sarcasm, or a dash of something special that makes each day comical and absolutely priceless.

In keeping with our mission — curating the best reads in the land — Reader’s Digest editors neatly packaged these timeless (and hilarious) Roach essays together for the first time. Whether you read this cover-to-cover or during spare moments over morning coffee, flip to a page in this volume and try not to smile.

This book came to me for review and when I found it was full of short (3-4 pages) essays, I was eager to pick it up and start reading it.  I grew up reading Reader’s Digest with my parents and have even subscribed a few times over the course of my adult life.  I have always loved the short stories and true-to-life wisdom that Reader’s Digest shares with its readers.  So, when I saw these essays were from a column in Reader’s Digest, I knew it had to be a hit. 

In “Meet the Parents” I found myself laughing along, thinking of past visits and sleepovers with family.  In “Soap Opera” she mentions a professor from Wartburg College, my niece’s alma mater, and reminded me of those early stages of dating my husband.  In “Best Cheap Fun” Roach has given me a new list of items to do with our kids this summer…LOL.  After reading “RV There Yet?”, I’m seriously reconsidering our plan to rent an RV and drive across the country with our children.  I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  These essays are a delight to read.

This book can be read all at once or you could read a few stories before you drift off to sleep.  Each one will leave you smiling and nodding your head in agreement to her descriptions of family life.  No matter what your age, you will be able to identify with something in the book and realize that your family life isn’t so crazy after all.  This book features Roach’s wit, humor, and honesty in a delightful package of essays. 

Mary Roach

Mary Roach is the author of STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS and SPOOK: SCIENCE TACKLES THE AFTERLIFE. Her writing has appeared in such publications as SalonGQVogue, and the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Oakland, California.  Roach has an additional book published this week, GULP: ADVENTURES ON THE ALIMENTARY CANAL.  For more on Mary Roach, visit her website,

I was provided a copy of this book from FSB Associates for the purpose of this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  This review is my honest opinion.

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