Humorous essays about Jenny Allen’s attempt to make sense of the baffling and annoying world around her
In Can I Borrow That?, a collection of first-person essays and humor pieces, Jenny Allen asks the tough questions: Why do people say “It is what it is”? What’s the point of fat-free half-and-half? Why don’t the women detectives on TV carry purses, and where are we supposed to think they keep all their stuff? And haven’t we all heard enough about memes?
Reporting from the potholes midway through life’s journey, Allen addresses these and other, more serious matters, like the rude awakenings of being single after twenty-five years, of mothering a teenager, and of living with a serious illness. She also discusses life’s everyday trials, like the horrors of attempting a crafts project, the anxieties of being a house guest, and the ever-changing rules of recycling.
Allen is a performer at heart—her one-woman show I Got Sick Then I Got Better premiered in 2009, and she regularly acts in other plays—and she brings that same spirit to these thirty-five short essays, which read like the work of a female Dave Barry. Writing on places both real, like a swag den for celebrities at Sundance and the parking lot at L.L.Bean’s flagship store, and imaginary—a Buddhist retreat attended by Martha Stewart, Elmer Fudd’s psychotherapy appointment—Allen’s wit and compassion give a fresh slant on the vicissitudes of day-to-day, and not so day-to-day, life.