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Book Review: I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee

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The first thought I had when this book crossed my path was “Who is this Samantha Bee, and why does she know what she is?”

I’d never heard of Samantha Bee before last week but in checking the book jacket, learned she is the “Most Senior Correspondent” on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and has been since 2003. I don’t watch TV much, but working with Jon Stewart has to be a plus. I am a sometimes fan of the kind of biting humor he is known for. After all, when you are the star of a majorly sardonic faux news program, you have to have the best of the best twisted minds around you as minions to pump you up and keep the humor level on “high.” If not, The Daily Show would just be another Factor with Bill O’Reilly.

Bee’s book is a collection of essays regarding her life. Born and raised in Canada, Samantha Bee had a quaintly alternative bringing up. No, really. Even more so than just being Canadian. Raised by grandparents with a little intermingling of the parental units – divorced and with stepmom – Bee manages to survive her childhood crush on Jesus Christ and her introduction into the procreative process (thanks to a conjoined camping trip with a pair of honeymooners). In fact, Ms. Bee seems to have taken a lot of oddball camping trips in her life.

We hear about her escapades on dating older (i.e. perverted) men and her mini-crime spree as an aiding and abetting accomplice to her grand theft auto stealing and wildly Neanderthal Croatian boyfriend.

And that was before she turned 18.

The rest of the book handles the touchy subjects of jobs (anime actress and terrible blackjack dealer), small animals (a long history with cats), marriage (to Daily Show co-worker Jason Jones) and children. (She has kids? Oy vay. I have to imagine it’s a daily riot in her house.)

Samantha Bee bares the skeletons of her life using tart and sassy language. She is probing, irreverent and describes the odd imperfections she sees in life with an amazing capacity to hit the nail squarely on its head. I had a smile on my face as I read this book, and at times burst into uncontrollable peals of laughter when least expected.

It’s safe to say Samantha Bee is the Girls Gone Wild version of David Sedaris. Hopefully she will be just as prolific and release Bee Two in the near future.

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.