cover image Tell Everyone on This Train I Love Them: Essays

Tell Everyone on This Train I Love Them: Essays

Maeve Higgins. Penguin Books, $17 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-14-313586-9

Irish comedian Higgins (Maeve in America) reveals her serious side in this probing if uneven reflection on such contemporary concerns as pandemic isolation, racism, police brutality, and climate change. In “Misneach and Rumors of War,” Higgins visits the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Va., after becoming perplexed by American conservatism, and compares debates over removing the statue to the IRA’s destruction of Irish monuments. In “Situational Awareness,” she visits the 2020 Border Security Expo in San Antonio, Tex., where “tequila flowed” and “suited men with buzz cuts” were “clapping each other on the back,” while “Bubbles and Planks” sees her stoned on cannabis-laced chocolates, after which she interrogates a chocolatier: “I want to know about consciousness and whether or not my mind is all I am.... Is that too much to ask some guy in a kitchen mixing weed with lychee fruit juice and vegan gelatin alternatives?” Along the way, she offers scattershot reflections on her battle with mental illness, the ups and downs of her career, and her credit card debt (“I owed Chase thousands of truly unnecessary dollars because my credit card had a mind of her own!”). Higgins is an accomplished writer, but there’s a hodgepodge feeling to this collection that saps the energy from it. Readers unacquainted with Higgins’s work may struggle to get on board. (Feb.)