The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
Full disclosure: I am in a Sarah Vowell Rut. Not that it’s a bad rut to be in. In fact, I’m finding it to be a most enjoyable rut. Given that this book is one of essays, it is perfect to slowly work my way through while feeding my newborn, which happens with greater frequency every day.
I have decided that I need to be friends with Sarah Vowell. Anyone who can make a valid argument for “If Al Gore were more like Willow from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, he might have won the election” is tops in my book. She then goes on to cover such topics as why Tom Cruise makes her nervous, visiting Salem to remind herself that no matter how bad life gets, it could be worse, Gettysburg, arcade basketball, The Wonder Twins, and Tom Landry.
While it’s not a straight-forward memoir, Patriot allows us more than a passing glimpse into Vowell’s inner space. We learn why she likes the Underground Lunchroom and why she feels that Clinton could learn a thing or two from Nixon. She makes no bones about her nerdiness, her love of America and it’s history, and her eager embrace of the online political community - if only because it lets her vent to like minded people. (Which is really why we all like it, right?)
All of this is delivered with the articulate candor of an author comfortable with both her own intellect and the subject she’s romanticizing. Luckily, even if you’re not a history buff, even if you pay not one lick of attention to politics, you will still find yourself entertained by Vowell, because she manages to be both ridiculously smart and a self-deprecating “everyman” who is infinitely relatable and accessible.
Like I said, I’m in a rut. I finished this one and immediately picked up it’s predecessor: Take The Cannoli (with a title like that, who can resist?) which I am slowly working my way through as I did with Patriot. I happen to agree with David Sedaris, who feels she is a national treasure.