... hilarious ... 'Women for Decoration' is particularly sublime, an homage to George Saunders’ 'The Semplica Girls,' where rich people string girls from their trees as a display of wealth. Her awkward moments, such as the time she met James van der Beek of Dawson’s Creek fame, are both cringey and relatable. Mercado’s laugh-out-loud quarantine story will also delight readers of Phoebe Robinson’s Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes (2021).
The author delivers plenty of witty reflections, offering mostly casual commentary on the thickets of contemporary identity politics and the meretricious seductions of pop culture. The author is at her best when, in a distinctively quirky style, she documents her absorption as an adolescent in various TV dramas and assesses her conflicted status as an ambitious, attention-seeking introvert ... At times, Mercado is unpersuasive, especially in the pieces that seem to aim at more incisive modes of cultural criticism—e.g., in her commentary on the rise of incivility in public life, the ultimate sources of racist and sexist attitudes, or the significance of her religious upbringing. Though the essential questions posed by the collection accurately locate Mercado as her own most important subject, she sometimes drifts into glib self-considerations that fail to register as anything other than light entertainment. Still, the author writes in a lively style, and she consistently expresses an appealingly irreverent sensibility ... An often amusing romp through contemporary issues by a popular humorist.
... essays both snarky and sharp ... Mercado maintains her self-deprecating humor while offering serious reflections on American culture, and the mix hits home, notably in 'A Strange and Unprecedented Time,' an insightful take on the pandemic as told in a diarylike record of her lockdown experience. Mercado’s fans will eat this up.