If you combined the razor sharp, bitter (and often self) loathing of phonies and crooks of Holden Caulfield with the everyday wit of a struggling single mother like Erma Bombeck, you might have an idea of what Kathryn A. Higgins collection of stories, satirical-journalism and poetry will be like in her newest collection "Snide Remarks in Sotto Voce." You'd only have half the story, though. You'd also have to combine the vocabulary and love of language of Nabokov and the enamoration with the high art of toilet humor of Dave Barry.
Higgins is at her most biting when she is telling the stories of today's spoiled and snooty as she has observed them in pieces like "Playbull"; "Final Exams"; "Lake Wannaquonsett Child-Enricment Summer Camp (We fix your kids so you don't have to!)"; "Fourteen Ways Men On the Train are Disgusting"; "My Life as Performance Art-- An Exhibition"; "Real Historical Dolls" and "Apocalypse Toy Company Inc. (Real Toys for Real Boys)."
She is at her most hysterical in her satirical-journalist pieces such as "Man with Bluetooth Proves, Indeed, to be Most Important Person at Party"; "Over Six Thousand Text Messages in One Month -- Tweenager Beats Personal Record"; "Family Survives Thanksgiving Visit with Relatives" and "Forty-Six-Year-Old Father of Two Manges, Finally, to do One-and-a-Half Flip Off Diving Board Vicariously Through Son."
For me though, she is never the most poignant as when she is a slight bit self-mocking like she is in "My Year in Haikus"; "Blind Date"; "How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Foreclosure"; "Blond Suburban Doppleganger"; "Unemployment? Try Sleeping All Day"; "My Real Internet Dating Profile"; "How to Annoy Your Thirteen-Year-Old Daughter"; and my very favorite, "Ode to My Ex-husband."
This is a great collection if you need to laugh at the hardships of the everyday traumas and ridiculous antics of your fellow man. It's also good to know, that no matter how hard your life is, how many bad things have happened to you, Higgins probably has you beat. What makes it even better? She's inviting us to share it with her. It's impossible not to laugh.
(reviewed 42 days after purchase)