Comedy nerds and curious newbies alike will LOL at the improv-infused Crying Laughing.
Winnie Friedman finds herself highly amusing, but the aspiring comedian has sworn off performing after bombing at her bat mitzvah. When she’s invited to join a comedy troupe, however, Winnie decides to give the stage another shot. Then she learns that her father, a former comedian, has been diagnosed with ALS. He’s been keeping it from her and downplaying it with others, to her mom’s frustration. Winnie doesn’t want to take sides—at home or at school, where her best friends are in conflict—but she’s stressed out. On top of all this, she also has to read Tess of the d’Urbervilles, “which doesn’t seem funny at all,” and figure out the rules of improv games like Nameball, Zip-Zap-Zop and Harold.
Thanks to his own comedy chops, Lance Rubin (Denton Little’s Deathdate) expertly explains the aforementioned games as Winnie masters them. Readers will cheer her on even as they cringe-laugh sympathetically. Crying Laughing offers insight into why it can be good to be unfunny, and gently but firmly advocates for facing up to feelings, even scary ones. Winnie’s rapid-fire internal voice and awkward dating experiences are a hoot, and her relationships are infused with compassion and nuance.
This sweet and appealing story celebrates kindness, wit, perseverance and “the most passive-aggressive grocery unpacking of all time.” Ha!
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Go behind the book with Crying Laughing author Lance Rubin.