BOOK REVIEW: How Do I Un-Remember This? Unfortunately True Stories by Danny Pellegrino
"Sometimes we just need to brighten our days with laughter, and we don't need a reason."
If you've read our Mother's Day blog, then you know that I get a lot of book recommendations from my mom. This book was no different. She had it checked out from the library as an audiobook and the cover immediately grabbed my attention. I had no idea who Danny Pellegrino was, but thought "Hmmmm...with that title it'll probably be funny." I was not wrong.
In How Do I Un-Remember This? Unfortunately True Stories, Danny takes us on a journey through his life, starting with his childhood as a gay kid in a small Ohio town, with no openly gay role models, to stories from his college years. Danny survived growing up in the Midwest by emerging himself in all things pop culture. Danny intertwines his humor and knowledge of pop culture with stories of his life in a way that makes you keep coming back for more.
Like I mentioned above, I had no idea who Danny Pellegrino was when I decided to listen to this audiobook. I read many reviews that said if you didn't know who he was, then this book probably wouldn't be of much interest. I wholeheartedly disagree. I didn't need to know who he was to connect with the different stories of his life. I laughed. I cringed. I felt as if I was right there with Danny reliving his childhood, his adolescence, and even parts of his adult life.
There were two stories that really stuck with me. The first story that stuck with me is a story about Christmas and Kohl's cash. I don't know of anyone who doesn't know what Kohl's is, but in case you don't, it's a store where you can buy almost anything, from shoes to athletic clothing to cocktail dresses to kitchen appliances. A huge selling point of Kohl's is that they have great deals almost constantly, and they have Kohl's cash, which you get after spending so much money to use as "free cash" for future orders. Anyways, in the story, Danny is running into town to return Amazon purchases at Kohl's when his mom asks him to pick up some Elsa pajamas. Before he leaves, she begins digging through her coupon purse for her Kohl's cash. She has tons and then, for the expired ones, she says something similar to "If they're expired, it's ok. They'll still take them!" This immediately took me back to MANY conversations with my grandma. She LOVED Kohl's and almost always had Kohl's cash on hand. It was a nice memory to associate with Danny's own story.
The second story, I'm still laughing about now just thinking about it. Danny is taking a class to learn American Sign Language (ASL). One of his exams or projects is to sign a book or song in front of the whole class. While partaking in some beverages one night, he's dared to sign a very crude song. He does have the brains about him enough to know that if he signs this song to the class, he will instantly be failed by his teacher. So he comprises for his dare and instead signs Michael Bolton's How Can We Be Lovers. Unfortunately, the teacher surprised the class by having them present to a room full of small children and their parents. Listening to Danny describe how he still got up there and signed Michael Bolton's song about lovers to a room full of kids had me laughing out loud. If I still had the audiobook, I'd probably listen to it whenever I need a pick me up.
In one of my previous blogs I mentioned that when it comes to memoirs, I prefer to listen to the audiobook when the author is narrating. I feel it just gives a little something extra to the book when you can hear it exactly how the author envisioned it. This book was no different. I loved hearing Danny's story in his own words and in his own voice. The only thing that got a bit old throughout the book was his "Let's take a detour" comment. The detour themselves were interesting and added to the memoir, but the same saying over and over again become tiresome. This still didn't detract from the book, and seems to be a popular saying of his.
Overall, I give How Do I Un-Remember This? Unfortunately True Stories by Danny Pellegrino a 4 out of 5 stars. It was so easy to fall into this book, even as an audiobook. I couldn't stop listening to it. If Danny comes out with another book full of his life stories, I will definitely be reading it. He's able to connect with the readers through these stories and make you feel as if you're friends, even though you will more than likely never meet Danny. This was also a refreshing book to read in the midst of reading heavier books.
If you're in the mood for something light-hearted and funny, then definitely give this book a chance! If you’d like to see what I’m reading now, check out my Goodreads or follow us on Instagram and Facebook! If you’re excited to see what other topics we’ll be covering in the coming months, make sure to subscribe. Thanks for reading with me!