The Woman Who Is Always Tan and Has a Flat Stomach... and Other Annoying People

Lauren Allison, Author, Lisa Perry, Author . Grand Central $12.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-446-69963-1

Psychologist Perry and business owner Allison teamed up in 2003 to give “non-motivational” seminars to women's groups across the country. This book, which was originally self-published in 2005, collects 50 of their sketches, mostly variations on the theme of women-who-do-too-much. There's the “Perfect Brownie Leader,” who planned scores of sophisticated projects for her troop; the scrapbooking obsessive who converted her whole house into a scrapbooking factory; the woman who set up her Christmas tree in July to get good photos for her Christmas cards; and a woman tormented by Martha Stewart's “thought for the day” e-mails. Most essays follow a single format—an excessive woman going to ever-more ridiculous extremes, while the narrator dead-pans, leaving readers cheering for the slacker. This format can work, but becomes tedious on repetition. Perry and Allison are much better when they're less predictable. They do a funny story about packing a frozen turkey in the checked luggage that has nothing to do with overachieving women, a nicely nasty piece about a woman who says “golly” about everything, and an oddly perceptive rant on the subject of husbands who embark on major home repairs just when company's expected. For less-than-perfect women who've had enough of Martha's endless projects, Perry and Allison may be an entertaining antidote. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 03/01/2008
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