Synopsis from Goodreads: Life in rural small town Oklahoma is not normally this humorous. Kari Rains takes us on an insightful journey through a bizarre childhood to an even more bizarre adulthood. Rains weaves hilarious tales about learning to smoke her first cigarette from the Buddha belly rubbing Catholic next door, as well as her first disastrous date with her husband. Sprinkle in a few untamed children and magic happens.
Source: Author for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Review: There is apparently no situation in life, no matter how embarrassing that Kari Rains can’t find humor in. In Rains’ ridiculously funny auto-biographical (and first) book, Shakespeare Makes Me Puke, Rains describes events from her life that most of us would like to see buried and forgotten. Thank you for not burying these events!
Rains’ book begins with childhood and memories of her and her sister growing up in a small Oklahoma town surrounded by a wealth of family, neighbors, and friends. The highlight of the early part of Rains’ book is the story of Granny Jane: the Willie Nelson loving, Virginia Slim smoking granny next door who taught Rains and her sister how to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. Did I mention that Granny Jane also had a cockatiel named Willie who liked to sit on her head?
Rains acknowledges in several places that her ability to make fun of herself and turn an embarrassing situation into something funny comes directly from her mother, Kristy the Great. Kristy is featured in several of Rains’ stories including one involving a dress tucked into the pantyhose moment and the story of exactly how and why Rains throws up when hearing about or discussing Shakespeare – yep, the title is true!! Rains’ father also plays a starring role in several scenes including a red paint incident and the Saturday morning he came bursting out of the bedroom buck-naked. Who doesn’t like a buck-naked story; am I right?
Rains uses her memories and stories of her mother and father to transition into her own adulthood and stories of how she met her husband and their three children, Ella, Nick, and Nate. Holy cats, there were a few instances in this section of the book where I laughed so hard I cried. Incidentally, there is a story in this book where Rains laughs so hard she not only cries but pees a little. Yes, that incident made me laugh harder. Rains’ kids provide a wealth of humor including the moment when Ella announces in the doctor’s office that her brother is in fact a boy and has a penis; there is the announcement in front of the church congregation as to why the family was late for services; and of course the announcement in front of the youth basketball league about Rains’ pants not falling down if she would just wear underwear.
These examples are just a few of the highlights of this fast-paced and smartly written book. Rains uses her wonderful sense of humor and sarcasm to make light of situations that most of us would rather ignore and/or hope there were very few witnesses too. If you are looking for a quick, easy read that is guaranteed to make you laugh, Shakespeare Makes Me Puke should top your list. This book is refreshing in the fact that Rains’ descriptions of the people, the places, and the events are vivid and real. These moments aren’t just moments of someone’s life; they are the memories of the author.