I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can't Take to the Bank by Leslie Handler
Published by Amazon Digital on February 12, 2018
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A memoir of Handler’s life expressed in a standalone collection of essays from her perspective, a first person protagonist point-of-view, if you will.
This ARC was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
Oh, honey, if you can’t relate to something in this collection, you ain’t right.
In a series of essays that veer from the glass is half-empty to the glass is overflowing (and does she ever remind me of Erma Bombeck!), Handler starts with her first dates to meeting the one, family pets, a memory of childhood summer and one of punishment that segues into reading and games with her daughters, the joys and trials of marriage with all the support, love, and blowups that come with it.
“When we took our vows, it was part of the deal. I had to love, honor, cherish, and relinquish all rights to the TV flipper.”
The good and the bad that ranges from Uncle Seymour leading the raid at Stonewall and a brother’s secret, the necessary fairies that keep a house running, and the running act of squeezing in the middle that can apply to so many items and people.
There’s the mistook care package which is both horrible and funny. Urk. The homophonic mishaps. Handler’s love of children and the lessons they experience to Jane Elliott’s experiment in racism in the classroom. Her deep love for her husband comes through despite the frustrations of living with him, lol — she’s been a very lucky lady.
Her death date approach cracked me up and made perfect sense. If only… Then Handler comes along with “stuff”. All our stuff that we accumulate, and I can appreciate her view that we are only “renting” our stuff. I’m guilty of that one. I have a lot of stuff. And I love my stuff and all the memories they stimulate.
It’s about diet and a wonderful mother-in-law, about walking in another person’s shoes and the many pairs she’s gone through herself. Having friends and the drama of letting another one in. And I completely agree with her take on the pitfalls of naming one’s children. What is with parents?!? Don’t they think!?? There are more thoughts of queuing up in lines only to be cut out. The horrors of growing old — it’s that eyebrow plucking! Clothing and shoes — socks and granny panties, egads!
Towards the end, Handler muses on life in general. Senior moments that are not always an age thing, although technology is. Fortunately her smartphone and TV knows what she likes. As for doctors today, she’s right. Any doctor who looks like a kid to me has got to be a fake.
Her confessions regarding Murphy’s Law, and now we know who to blame! That perfect diet plan. I know, I know, Handler would hate my using that word, “perfect”. But that’s the plan. It’s the best way I know to lose weight.
The lost art of grammar due to texting, the word crisis, and the jingle of past commercials versus the emotional guilt of today’s. Her thoughts on why she shouldn’t run for president in 2020…then she realizes she should, but I’m not sure what the Secret Service would think of her Boob One and Boob Two plan.
And my favorite essay is the one about practicing kindness, moderation, and passion, keeping regrets small and success abundant.
It’s a life that finds that glass at varying levels from bone dry to overflowing.
And thank god for the little things.
The Cover and Title
The cover is too cute with its icy blue-on-blue background and tan linoleum floor just in front of that mouse hole with the happy mouse focused on that wedge of cheese. All the text is black from the title that descends in size in the top half to the author’s name below the cheese with a testimonial below that.
The title cracks me up — Rats, Mice and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank — and Handler explains it in the prologue, for rodents are survivors…and so is Handler.