2018 Thurber Prize Semi-Finalist Is That The Shirt You're Wearing? is a memoir covering the struggles and joys (big and small, but always funny) of being a working mother, wife and daughter in Los Angeles during two crazy summers in the life of Kristen Brakeman, an essayist and blogger whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and Working Mother Magazine. She blogs at www.kristenbrakeman.com and she is featured in a new collection, Martinis & Motherhood. When not mothering, daughter-ing or wife-ing, Brakeman works behind-the-scenes on variety television shows. Also, she is a nice person and eats her vegetables.
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The humorous essays in the memoir, Is That The Shirt You’re Wearing?, are woven together by journal entries from two summers in the author’s life when absolutely everything happened. The essays address a diverse range of topics, from Brakeman hating being called “Ma’am” (and proposing a wonderful alternative), to accidentally teaching her seven year old daughter to swear; from discovering the perils of shopping in the loud and stinky Hollister store, to being scolded by a Very Important Singer. Each essay is introduced by a journal entry that provides a humorous or poignant (yet always very relatable) update on the lives of her husband, three daughters, and elderly, yet still guilt-inducing mom. The journal entries emphasize the cyclical nature of life, and trace the author’s bumpy transformation from chronic planner to one who discovers the joy of living in the moment before she runs out of moments.
This is not a mommy blogger whining about her kids. Instead it’s a slice-of-life of a typical American family, a chronicle of the ups and downs of modern life. Readers of Brakeman’s previously published essays have compared her writing to that of Nora Ephron. Though the humor is often wry in tone, ultimately people will find this collection to be life affirming.
What others are saying:
Liam Dolan, Co-host/Creator of Satellite Sisters and LA Times bestselling author: "Kristen Brakeman's writing makes me laugh, makes me cry and makes me think. For me, and lots of women who read and relate to Brakeman, that's a perfect trifecta. She taps into women's lives with a sharp eye and a sharp wit. I discovered her work online and immediately became a fan. She understands her community and her audience. Her slice-of-life essays deliver on all counts. Keep writing/posting/tweeting, Ms. Brakeman."
Amy Goldman Koss, young adult author: "Brakeman's delicious essays feel so true that you start off thinking, Yep, I know that feeling. But then you laugh or cry and end up saying, Hey, I never thought of it that way! "
Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times: “Apparently, Brakeman lives in the cushions of our couch, for how else does she latch onto the universal truths of our lives like this? The secret: Her life is our life. Only funnier. This new book belongs on the shelf between Bombeck and Barry.”