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Picks and Pans Review: Why I'm Like This

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By Cynthia Kaplan

“Had I known what high school would be like,” writes Kaplan in this funny memoir divided into 21 short essays, “I would have asked my parents to set me adrift on an ice floe at puberty.” Fortunately for us, she slogged through the unrequited crushes and made it to the end of a seemingly endless virginity. Striking a note somewhere between David Sedaris and Anna Quindlen, Kaplan, a comic, singer and actress, spins traumas personal (the summer camp caste system), familial (the decline of her stylish grandmother) and professional (the 10 hours she spent riding a rolling cake rack while filming a TV commercial) for maximum laughs. Her self-deprecating wit hasn’t landed her that breakthrough role, but it could make her a literary star. (Morrow, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Sharp-tongued and silly