The popular Chicago comic looks back on her road to success, recounting the difficulty of growing up as a gender-nonconforming person in a Catholic household and beginning a standup career. From sexism and sexuality to white male privilege and self acceptance, Cameron uses humor to break down the barriers that keep us from speaking openly about these topics.
She has a specific and engaging cadence [on stage], which once in your head, helps in how the book ‘sounds.’ This performance style did not always translate its full effect to the page. There are occasional moments where the narrtive was not moving forward because of the writing, but because of the compelling nature of Esposito’s story and her natural charisma exuding from the page. Additionally, the structure of the memoir is like a comedy album, where each track can stand by itself, and so the occasional use of framing devices take getting used to. These critiques aside, Esposito has more than succeeded at the dual tasks of telling the story of (most of) her life so far while also providing laugh-out-loud commentary alongside it. With it being a pleasantly raucous reminiscence, the moments of insight stand out. Some of these flashes of brilliance are strikingly funny ... Cameron has written a memoir that would have illuminated the world for her younger self and will hopefully do so for those 'weird' kids like her.
Comedian Cameron Esposito’s new book Save Yourself has landed on my shortlist of memoirs that blend interiority and laugh-out-loud wit. Her writing is insightful and generously open, and her voice leaps from the page. The book has its weaknesses, most of which appear in the early chapters. Primarily, there is a sense that Esposito is not confident in how she wants to tell her story, and it takes some time for her style to settle into a groove. There are occasional gimmicky lines ... Esposito is an excellent comedian, and that natural humor is effective even when it’s hitting the reader over the head. The prose, thankfully, smooths itself out over the course of the book. Esposito remains an energetic writer throughout, but the humor is subtler and she delivers it with fewer capital letters. As a reader, I preferred this more vulnerable and reflective version of Esposito ... long-time fans will find many stories they’re already familiar with ... Some might wish for fewer repeats, but for others, perhaps revisiting the stories in a broader, longer chronological context will be a welcome deep dive.
Esposito brings her distinctive and queer-focused brand of humor to the memoir, combining laugh-out-loud moments with somber reflections on gender, sexuality, religion, social power dynamics, and how to start the process of saving yourself ... this hilarious and emotional memoir charts Esposito’s growth personally, professionally, and spiritually. Those looking to learn more about this social justice-driven comedian will find the unflinching self-examination of a person ready to share something beyond her stand-up routine.