I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons: Tales of Redemption from an Irish Mailbox

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons: Tales of Redemption from an Irish Mailbox
by Greg Fitzsimmons

Plot Summary:


Greg Fitzsimmons has made a lot of what appear to be bad decisions. It’s what he was raised to do. Most parents would hide or destroy any evidence so clearly demonstrating their child’s failures, but—lucky for us—Greg Fitzsimmons’s family has preserved each mistake in its original envelope like a trophy in a case, lest he ever forget where he came from.

Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons is Greg’s life, told through this cavalcade of disciplinary letters, incident reports, and newspaper clippings that his parents received from teachers and school officials. Greg picks up where his parents left off with his own collection of letters received during college and throughout his successful career as a writer, producer, and stand-up comic. Revealing the larger story of how Greg’s distinctly dysfunctional Irish-American family bred him to blindly challenge anyone, anytime, anywhere, over anything, Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons comes full circle to show that the Fitzsimmons torch has been passed on proudly to a new generation.


I don't read alot of memoirs/(auto)biographies, unless I am really interested in the person the book is about, so I picked up this book because I am an avid listener of Greg Fitzsimmons podcast - Fitzdog Radio (free on itunes!). On his podcast, he talks sometimes about his childhood and his experiences growing up, always humorously, and fueled by his anger and sarcasm. He's always fun to listen to, and I wanted to get more insight into him and his comedy.


The focus in this book is on Greg Fitzsimmons' family life and the influence of his father and radio host, Bob Fitzsimmons and it is a through-way for all the stories and anecdotes Greg relates. It's a funny and surprisingly touching memoir for such an acerbic, sharp-witted comedian. From the stories Greg relates, his interesting outlook on life seems to stem from his issues with rage and authority figures. And what I found most interesting about this book, was the illustration that class clowns and students who don't take education and their future as seriously as they should, don't always have to change to prosper. They could be lucky enough to find a career or life path that suits their unconventional approach to life and become fine upstanding citizens, even if they behave outrageously. Though I questioned the sanity behind some of the things Greg does in his book, he always comes off as a likable rascal that is is telling you his stories slightly tongue-in-cheek. Just imagine a comedian taking an important gig, with the only criteria being not to say the F-word, and then going up and specifically gearing his set to how he should not be saying the F-word while saying it many times. It's terrible. And delightful. And that probably sums up everything about this book.

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