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IO #71: Exit Laughing: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Deathby Victoria Zackheim
Synopses & Reviews
Exit Laughing is more than a collection of twenty-four personal stories, written by some of our country's finest authors, on the subject of death and humor. It's a reminder that all of us approach death in very different ways. Whether we face our death or the death of a loved one with fear, sorrow, joy, or confusion, and whether or not we believe in an afterlife, we cannot deny that death happens. Exit Laughing reminds us that in death there is a place for humor. Ellen Sussman writes of flying home her mother's body and watching her mother's burial wardrobe spill out on the baggage carousel. Kathi Kamen Goldmark regales us with memories of playing the kazoo at Jessica Mitford's funeral. Broadway and television actor Richard McKenzie shares the riotous story of a funeral procession led by a lost hearse. Bonnie Garvin writes about her parents' double suicide attempt (and yes, it's funny!). Joshua Braff recalls a death in an upstairs bedroom during his childhood, Roadrunner cartoons included. L.A. Law star and author Michael Tucker describes his last visit with his dying friend, Cleavon Little, and how they said goodbye. International bestselling novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard writes about her husband's untimely death, and how his three best friends ended up held in a psychiatric hospital after the wake. These stories, along with seventeen other memorable essays, constitute a book whose purpose is to remind readers that when dealing with illness, dying, and death, there is an important place for laugh-out-loud humor.
There’s nothing funny about dying … or is there? Malachy McCourt, Jacquelyn Mitchard, and 22 more share hilarious and moving stories of confronting death. Exit Laughing makes death more approachable as it reveals the funny side of “passing on.” As painful as it is to lose a loved one, Exit Laughing shows us that in times of grief, humor can help us with coping and even healing.
Best-selling author Amy Ferris explains how her mother’s dementia led to a permanent ban from an airline. Ellen Sussman writes of flying her mother's body home and watching the burial wardrobe spill out on the baggage carousel. Broadway and television actor Richard McKenzie shares the riotous story of a funeral procession led by a lost hearse. Bonnie Garvin even manages to find a heavy dose of dark humor in her parents’ three unsuccessful attempts at a double suicide. These stories, along with tales from Joshua Braff, Barbara Graham, Dianne Rinehart, and more, constitute a book whose purpose is to remind readers that when dealing with illness, aging, and dying, there is an important place for laugh-out-loud humor.
About the Author
Victoria Zackheim is author of The Bone Weaver, a novel, and the editor of five anthologies: The Other Woman, which was on the national bestseller list in Canada for several weeks, For Keeps, The Face in the Mirror, and He Said What?. Her play based on five essays from The Other Woman will begin a six-week theater run in summer 2012. Zackheim teaches Personal Essay in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and is a frequent speaker at writers' conferences, non-profit educational and philanthropic organizations, and book fairs. A 2010 San Francisco Library Laureate, she is actively involved in social media including Facebook, Goodreads, Redroom, Shewrites, and the AARP Writers Forum. A graduate of UCLA (BA) and San Francisco State University (MA), she lives in San Francisco.
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