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Arts and Entertainment

Book Review: People are Unappealing

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Sara Barron reads from this book tonight in Westwood.


Sara Barron reads from this book tonight in Westwood.
Sara Barron’s first book People are Unappealing -- Even Me is a collection of humorous vignettes -- ripped from the headlines of her life, from her childhood in Chicago to her college days as a theatre student in New York to post-college life as an actor/waiter. The characters in the book, and whom she she swears are real or amalgams of people she’s encountered, make us thankful for our regular old dysfunctional families and friends. Her mother is a hypochondriac, and her father is the closest a man can come to being gay (an effeminate father with a penchant for singing Broadway show tunes).

Barron is a funny writer who’s probably going to be compared to David Sedaris the most, but she’s more self-deprecating where Sedaris is deadpan, and isn’t a out there as Sedaris can be. (At least she doesn’t ‘fess up to being a recovering crystal meth head in the book.)

The stories are more akin to what you’d hear at Mortified or The Moth storytelling nights. One of our favorites was the chapter where she finds a spiral notebook from junior high during a Thanksgiving break. It was a 50-page erotic screenplay titled, “The Porn,” with Tom Cruise and Christie Brinkley in the lead roles.

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The only problem with Barron’s porn was that she didn’t really have a clue about sex. For example, she spelled penis as pienus throughout her childhood opus; she thought they (pienuses?) were shaped like hooks; and that post-coital moments always included champagne. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter:

I was convinced an erection meant you couldn’t have sex. “Jim’s erection is out of control!” declares the narrator in scene 13. “Jenny tries to use her hand to calm it down before the problem gets any worse!” The last time I checked, erections weren’t a problem...

Now while all the chapters don’t hit the humor high-water mark of “The Porn,” (we’ve heard enough weird online dating and audition/acting horror stories), People are Unappealing is still a quick and very entertaining appealing read.

Sara Barron reads from People are Unappealing at the Borders in Westwood (1360 Westwood Blvd.) tonight at 7 pm.