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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
In her introduction to Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off About, Dorothy Rosby, a syndicated humor columnist, tells us this latest book of hers is a “good-natured rant” primarily about those things that irritate us and keep us awake at night. Well now, after reading one entertaining rant after another in this collection, I am puzzled: how has Rosby somehow managed to hack into my brain? Heck, on content alone, I could have written this book. But it takes a talent like Rosby’s to compile all the items, issues, worries, and annoyances that daily clutter up my mind into such an entertaining bunch of essays. What fun I had reading about and laughing at myself! So what gets my mental doppelganger, Rosby, going? Everything to do with modern electronics and our utter reliance on them, to our obsession with Facebook friends...who aren’t really friends...to how we manage to collect glasses and knick-knacks over a lifetime, to being driven nuts while being put on hold for 45 minutes and wishing we could talk to a human being, to the mindless “Heyhowareyas” we ask hoping the answer will be short because we’re busy, to being utterly confused as to why we are all so different and what is wrong with everyone else anyway?
On and on Rosby rants, laughing at herself and making us laugh with her. Of course, she’d be the first to say that often what we each think is funny isn’t funny to others. That’s true...especially when we recognize ourselves in her thinking and ranting. But her approach, stylistically and content-wise, really works for me. She’s obviously an Erma Bombeck fan, as I am: she chats with us, laughs at herself along the way, draws us in with her warmth and quick wit. As a writer myself, I couldn’t help but notice how often she’ll be on a track, then suddenly, prompted by a word she’s just used, will switch tracks, and seconds later, easily get back to what she was first talking about. So clever! I took mental notes on this tactic. I might try to use it myself when I’m next inspired to write a book of rants. That said, I have only one bone to pick with Dorothy Rosby: how dare she compile a collection like this before I did? Brilliant...but a darn hard act to follow! Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off About is just the kind of book we need to lift our spirits during this Covid crisis. Enjoy!