Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: Crazy Aunt Purl's Home Is Where the Wine Is by Laurie Perry

I discovered blogs a few years ago when I started knitting, and one of the first blogs I began reading regularly was Crazy Aunt Purl.  Crazy Aunt Purl wasn't what I was expecting.  My search for project ideas and knitting tips brought me to the blog of a young woman struggling through a divorce with the help of her friends, her cats, some wine, and some yarn.  Laurie Perry (a.k.a. Crazy Aunt Purl) writes from the heart and says what's on her mind...and boy is it funny!  Perry is a good example of someone making lemonade out of lemons or picking up the pieces and creating something even better than the original.

After learning that Perry had become a published author, I couldn't wait to read her first book, Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair.  Despite swearing off alcohol (for the most part) after my crazy-but-fairly-innocent college years, being (mostly) happily married, and lacking pets aside from goldfish (which require some work but are nowhere near as high maintenance as cats), I couldn't put the book down.  Perry laid it all out on the line -- the pain of divorce and the struggle to rebuild her life -- and I really felt for her.  The beauty of it all is her sense of humor, so when I heard she'd written a second book, I jumped at the chance to read it.

In Crazy Aunt Purl's Home Is Where the Wine Is: Making the Most of What You've Got One Stitch (and Cocktail!) at a Time, Perry is ready to make some life changes, and she begins by setting some resolutions.  But rather than set herself up for failure (who really keeps those New Year's resolutions?), she creates a really broad list.  "Explore New Paths to Enlightenment."  "Take an Adventurous Trip."  "Go on a Real, Live Date."  "Grow a Garden."  "Do some form of exercise other than knitting."  As I'm reading her list, I'm nodding, thinking to myself that these are some resolutions that would be good for me, too, and knowing that some hilarious stories are on the way.

Home Is Where the Wine Is is my kind of non-fiction.  It's not a traditional self-help book or memoir.  It's a humorous tale of a woman seeking happiness and contentment and finding it here and there while traveling, gardening, crafting, etc.  Perry's writing is thoroughly entertaining, and even if your circumstances are different from hers, I guarantee there's at least one story in the book that you can relate to.  I chuckled when Perry struggles with meditation, encountering the same problems I did on the few occasions I thought I needed a clear head.
I went back to the bedroom, my most serene room, and sat on my bed, the softest, most comfortable item in my entire house.  I sat comfortably, abandoning the faux lotus.  I sighed.  Then I breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly and closed my eyes.

Then I fell asleep. 
(page 11 in the ARC)
And her pre-travel doctor's appointment was something I could relate to as well.
I am always and forever showing up to the Doctor's office with interesting ailments.  Such as the time I had dry skin and thought it was scabies.  Or the time I was sure I had a melanoma and it turned out to be a pimple.  I am often told to stop looking up weird sh** on WebMD, but I can't help it.  The Internet is just so useful for diagnosing things!

"Hey, Dr. Curt, can you also look at my arm tumor?"

"You have an arm tumor?" he asked.  "You just spent twenty minutes talking about germs on airplanes, but an arm tumor is just a 'Hey, by the way' issue?  Okay, let me see the alleged tumor," he said.  I pulled up my left shirtsleeve so he could see the odd, lumpy upper arm.

"Is it fatal?" I asked.

"It's not fatal," he sighed.  "It's called a muscle."  (page 23 in the ARC)
Perry is not afraid to detail her online dating escapades, a battle with a plant-murdering gardener, and even a trip to a therapist.  While Perry's humor is the main reason I enjoy her writing so much, Home Is Where the Heart Is also teaches some good lessons about being yourself, taking chances, and laughing when things don't go as planned.  Opening the book is like sitting on the porch on a summer evening with a drink and chatting with your best friend for hours about anything and everything.  And those of you who knit or crochet will love the assortment of patterns in the back of the book, including a Super-Easy Beret, Island Beach Bag, Retro Crocheted Toilet Seat Cover, and Braided Kitchen Rug.  I haven't tried any of them yet, but they look simple enough.

Later today, I'll be posting a chat with Laurie and information on how you can win a copy of Home Is Where the Wine Is.

I want to thank TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to participate in the Home Is Where the Wine Is tour.  Click here for all of the tour dates and participating blogs.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Crazy Aunt Purl's Home Is Where the Wine Is from HCI Books for review purposes.


Wrighty said...

I'll be looking for this one! A sad topic but a great sense of humor. That's my kind of book!

Julie P. said...

I have this one to read too! I can't wait! Great review.

DCMetroreader said...

I love it when a blogger hits the big time and you "knew" them in beginning! Crazy Aunt Purl sounds like the perfect book to unwind with after a long work day.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I liked her earlier book: Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair --loved the humor.

Great review; I'll have to try this one some time.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I really enjoyed this one too. I'm not single and I don't knit, but that didn't stop me from relating to Laurie. After all, I do have cats and love wine! I'm in the process of attempting to come up with some clever, unexpected questions to ask her for my post next week. Somehow I just know she is up to the challenge!

Serena said...

Sounds like a fun read. I'm not a knitter, though.

Kaye said...

Aunt Purl sounds like a hoot! Great review, Anna, and by the way my new years resolutions last until Jan 3rd or maybe the 4th if I am really dedicated.

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like so much fun!

LisaMM said...

I learned that lesson too, about making resolutions that are a bit more broad and a lot less specific. They are easier to keep, that's for sure!

Great review, Anna! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the book.

Thanks so much for putting so much time and thought into all your reviews. You're the best!

Andi said...

Yay! I'm so glad you liked this book. I'm the tail end of the tour (very last stop), and I'm really looking forward to this one. I adored her first book and am eager to dive in!

Kailana said...

I just recently learned about this book and the blog it is based off of. I am glad to hear more good things about it!

Blodeuedd said...

This book sounds nice, just saw another comment about one of her book, that was one title

Darlene said...

Great review Anna! This sounds good.

Anonymous said...

Great review! I've read the book and enjoyed it. You're absolutely right--you don't have to be any of the things Laurie is to enjoy the book. I'm a knitter but that's the only thing she and I have in common. I like the way she thinks about life and of course her writing is very humorous.

Dana said...

This sounds like a great read! I have an award for you at my blog:

Anna said...

Wrighty: I can't agree more!

Julie P.: Thanks! I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

DCMetroreader: It was the perfect book for a long commute, too.

Diane: I hope you get a chance to read it, especially if you liked her first book.

Sandy: Glad you enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

Serena: That doesn't matter. I think you'd enjoy it regardless.

Kaye: I completely understand! That's why I stopped making resolutions.

bermudaonion: It really is!

LisaMM: You're very welcome. I really enjoy being part of the tours.

Andi: I'm looking forward to your tour date.

Kailana: I definitely recommend you read the books!

Blodeuedd: I think you'd enjoy them!

Dar: Thanks! Hope you get a chance to read them.

Anonymous: Thanks!

Dana: It's a very fun book. Thanks very much for the award!