Our January has leaned more toward the heavy side, not because of all the food we ate during December, but because of all our unexpected health debacles. I decided life was heavy enough. No need for the book of the week to add to it! So I shopped on my shelves and found one I'd never had time to read, but knew I'd laugh all the way through: The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle.
Melanie has published three books, and if I'm not mistaken, I think her fourth one is coming soon, but I had only read two of the three she'd published so far. I started with her first book, Sparkly Green Earrings, which is a hilarious memoir on motherhood, and then shortly before I left radio, I read her third book Nobody's Cuter than You, an equally hilarious memoir on friendship. (I also interviewed her about that book back when I was still in radio.)
But the middle book, The Antelope in the Living Room, her memoir on marriage, sat on my shelf, raising its invisible book-hand, begging to be read, but I just hadn't gotten to it! And my goodness, was it ever the perfect book for a heavy month!
If you've read either of Melanie's other two books, I'm happy to report that her conversational, blogger, story-telling tone carries through this one exactly like it did the other two. I am pretty sure I even read it in a southern accent, because she has one, and it's delightful, and I wanted to feel like she was reading the book to me.
This book is a collection of stories from her marriage to Perry, who is her opposite in many ways, and yet her best friend and support. I laughed so hard and made my husband mute the TV no less than 37 times so I could read him "just one more thing" from the pages, because sometimes Perry and Melanie were so much like us.
I confess perhaps I should not have read the chapter on Perry's surgeries prior to my husband's gallbladder extraction, because Melanie freaks out about the same sorts of medical mishaps I do, and it reminded me I worry for a reason. But even though it didn't calm my fears, it let me know I wasn't alone in them, and for that, I was grateful.
I appreciate how most of the chapters end with a tie in to a spiritual lesson, but I just dearly love the stories themselves. They are totally worth the read. It's good to laugh. It's good to know you're not alone in your own personal irrational thoughts. It's good to read real life stories. And did I mention it's good to laugh?
This book isn't a new one. It was published in 2014, so I'm clearly behind the times on this one. But it was a lighthearted read sorely needed in this month of heavy thinking. If you're having a heavy January, I recommend this one. (And Melanie? I cried forever too over Princess Diana's death. I can't believe neither of our husbands took it as personally as we did.)
I did not think it was possible to love this book more than Sparkly Green Earrings, but I was wrong. Melanie Shankle has done it again. Poignant at times but mostly hilarious, I could not put this book down. It was a joy to read and truly, truly lifted my spirits.
Melanie Shankle has absolutely great humor even while being transparent about her very human quirks and very real marriage. It has a practical side, too, regarding her courtship, relationship, faith, and marriage, but I really enjoyed it and thought it was very funny. I read a lot of parts out loud to my husband, who laughed, too. We can relate to some of the scenarios she mentions. I dont always read the endorsements, so I didnt discover them until after I finished the book. My husband and I laughed some more at the fake funny endorsements from recognizable culture and TV references. Maybe Id better get Sparkly Green Earrings now.
What a hilarious, honest, and refreshing look at marriage! I found myself laughing out loud from the fake endorsements through the very end. Many of Shankle's stories reminded me of my own marriage. Sometimes it was funny, and sometimes it caused me to think about things in a new way. While I don't normally read memoirs about people I don't "know," I have thoroughly enjoyed both of Melanie Shankle's books. I love her sense of humor and hope you will find something to laugh over while you read this delightful book!