I usually like funny, fast-paced reads only if they’re poking fun at our society or have some deeper cultural undertones. But occasionally even I get sick of dwelling in life’s neurotic muck and want something to read that’s light-hearted and escapist, but still realistic enough that my eyeballs don’t get strained from rolling too far back into my head.
My mom has been on my case to read Lisa Scottoline’s legal thrillers, but I’m allergic to adrenaline, or at least anything with the word “thriller” in it. Then one day my mom emailed me the link to Scottoline’s “Chick Wit” column from the The Philadelphia Inquirer. Perhaps I was having an off day, but it made me laugh and inspired me to check out Scottoline’s nonfiction essay compilation, My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman.
Scottoline and her nest-flown daughter Francesca Serritella take turns writing short essays about living alone without being lonely. Scottoline, twice-divorced, surrounds herself on the couch in front of the big screen TV with her pack of five dogs, two cats and a laptop. Serritella has recently moved into her first post-college apartment in New York City, which worries her mother to our amusement: "I thought I said, 'I am going to see my cousin's new apartment.' but in Mom-speak that translates to: 'I am going to meet certain death in the New York City subway tunnels that are soon to be my tomb.'" Octogenarian curmudgeon “Mother Mary” is a recurring character who is quite a character, as well as Scottoline’s gay brother who puts their mother up in his house in south Florida and somehow manages to put up with her. Serritella writes lovingly and humorously about trying to get her grandmother to divulge a secret family recipe and is amused to discover it manages to include no fresh ingredients. Mother Mary goes on a book tour with Scottoline and steals the show like a 4’11” grey haired rock star. Fans flock to Scottoline’s appearances probably for the same reason even a Debbie Downer like me enjoyed this book. It’s easy to feel at home among these kooky people who open the door to their daily lives for us to enter and settle down to a good laugh.