Cover image for Humor me : an anthology of humor by writers of color
Humor me : an anthology of humor by writers of color
McNally, John, 1965-
Publication Information:
Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxi, 210 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS508.M54 H86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS508.M54 H86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS508.M54 H86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ
PS508.M54 H86 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The first anthology of its kind, Humor Me is a celebration of humor by authors from diverse cultures. Sixteen of today's most exciting writers -- among them Sherman Alexie, Gish Jen, Charles Johnson, and Lucille Clifton -- are represented in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama, cartoons, and graphic narratives. Whether using satire, parody, or farce, these writers explore the universal themes of love, family, sex, and race, and they do so in their own edgy, subversive, and sometimes skewed ways.

In Sherman Alexie's short story "Assimilation, " a Coeur d'Alene woman wants to cheat on her white husband with an Indian man, any Indian man -- or, as Alexie puts it, "an indigenous stranger." In Sandra Tsing Loh's essay "Daddy Dearest, " the author cringes when an old friend asks if her father still wears his underwear backward and does the Chinese snake dance on Pacific Coast Highway.

Nothing in Humor Me is taboo, as Erika Lopez proves in her illustrated tale of one environmentally conscious woman'sattempt to,subvert the tampon industry. Jim Northrup even takes on that American institution Jeopardy! in his satire "Shinnob Jep, " describing a game that quizzes its contestants on Native American trivia, including the categories "Trick or Treaties" and "Rez Cars."

From low-brow to high-brow, from belly laughs to the cerebral, Humor Me places internationally renowned writers such as Charles Johnson and Gish Jen alongside rising stars Paisley Rekdal and Michele Serros and a host of newcomers, including Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Daniel Chacon.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This book developed out of frustrations felt by McNally, author of the well-received short story collection Troublemakers, when he prepared to teach a course on humor in American literature. He found that minority writers were almost completely ignored. Here, he takes a small step toward remedying the situation. The editor observes that not all these pieces are by writers who identify as humorists, and that the role of humor varies broadly among them. Nor is race the central theme of the book, since a good portion of the humor hinges on more universal themes of sex, ambition and ladder climbing. Among the 10 short pieces of fiction here, Daniel Chac"n's "Godoy Lives" is excellent but more darkly ironic than funny: an illegal immigrant finds himself welcomed by the cousin of the dead man whose ID he is using. The poetry (including pieces by Lucille Clifton and Paisley Rekdal) is decent, but not necessarily chuckle-inducing. Author Charles Johnson has submitted a few funny cartoons, but he doesn't deserve 27 pages worth. Among three pieces of nonfiction, Sherman Alexie's "White Men Can't Drum" and Sandra Tsing Loh's "Daddy Dearest" both amuse. Finally, the one piece of drama included, Jim Northrup's "Shinnob Jep," a parody of Jeopardy, offers darkly caustic comments on Native American life, but overextends the premise. The editor states that he received fewer than a dozen submissions for this anthology, and the mix of poetry, cartoon, fiction and nonfiction he ended up with is finally diffuse. (Apr.) Forecast: Given McNally's multigenre approach, the lack of bigger names here cartoonist Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks) comes immediately to mind make this book feel like an academic exercise, despite McNally's best intentions. Look for steady if somewhat slow sales, mostly for campus writing courses. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This collection of representative work fiction, poems, cartoons, and drama by writers of color (e.g., Sherman Alexie, Gish Jen, and Sandra Tsing Loh) is very much a matter of personal taste. The initiated are likely to find it full of wonderful hits, whereas others, if they can get into it at all, are likely to shrug it off as basic collegiate raunch. Despite its marvelous come-hither title, there's nothing likely to yank a tendon on anyone's side. Charles Johnson's cartoon comes closest, but the overall effect is like a bad telephone connection; something is being said, but it requires a well-attuned ear to make out exactly what. Several writers have an almost feverish fascination with sex and seem to wallow in life's seamy underside. By now this is hardly new or shocking, merely tiresome in being so commonplace. While this reviewer cannot encourage a general readership, he cannot bring himself to discourage adventurous types whom nothing will dismay. For larger humor and multicultural collections. A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.