Readers expecting fluffy hilarity from actress and comedian Slate’s first solo-authored adult book should adjust their dials ... amidst the heartbreak, Slate leaves room for all sorts of lightness and laughter ... This unconventional collection gives true insight into Slate as both an artist and a person, and will more than reward curious readers.
Judging from the content of Jenny Slate's Little Weirds, the inside of her mind is a fascinating, if unusual, place. In this collage of essays, stories, dreams (both night and day), and pieces that defy easy categorization, the actor and comedian invites readers to pay an extended visit, one that will leave them enlightened, moved and sometimes pleasantly puzzled ... Slate flashes her comedic gift often ... a refreshing, original journey.
All Slate's tone-setting puts a critic in a tough position. If I dislike Little Weirds, or find it in various ways wanting, am I no longer a friend to the world? Am I guilty of killing wild creatures? Or can I be a friendly, wild-creature-loving accepter of vulnerability and still wish that Little Weirds demonstrated more of the tonal range, irreverent wildness, and utter self-exposition that characterize Slate's stand-up? I do wish all of the above. Mostly, I wish that Little Weirds were weirder, and more intimate ... slides by smoothly and vaguely. Slate's essays tend toward the short, casual, and mildly silly, and her language strikes a balance between oddly flat statements and endearingly specific word choices enlivened by the occasional Seussian rhyme ... But Slate's rhymes and specificities disguise the fact that her essays' content is quite mainstream and sometimes fuzzy. She writes, without much detail, about the end of her marriage, her grief over Donald Trump's electoral victory, the joy she takes in family and friendship, her hopes for a bright romantic future, and her steps toward self-acceptance and self-love ... Because she shies away from it in Little Weirds, however, her essays often fall a bit flat ... is full of soft and lovely moments ... I prefer Slate in Stage Fright, in which she imitates skeletons, invites viewers into her grandmother's closet, and talks about sex in an alarming and hilarious baby voice. Those weirds are the right weirds for me.