The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee – Sarah Silverman

I knew this book would probably end up grossing me out but it was written by a comedian, so I hoped it would be funny in the process. From page1, the assault on my senses begins with great prose:

“My Life Started by Exploding Out of My Father’s Balls, and You Wonder Why I Work Blue”

Yep, that’s totally quotable.

So I guess I’m saying that I’m, in most ways, my father’s fault. He filled my mother’s vagina with the filthy semen that consisted of me, then filled my head with even more filth.

OK, .. keep on reading – there might be something of value in here. 10% through the book, after meeting all of the friends and getting to know the parents through funny anecdotes, come the bed-wetting tales.

I was tiny for my age, and with enuresis, there was no medical cure but to grow.

Unfortunately, she didn’t grow. In high-school, she was still suffering from enuresis and seeing a hypnotist as a means to deal with it twice a week.

To still be a bedwetter in high school, to have a condition this deeply entrenched, is a pretty serious problem for a child. And to be factually accurate, not every measure my parents took to address the issue was the best one. But to be fair, they were doing what they thought was right. They were loving parents who did the best they could.

As I read on, it became painfully obvious the torture it entailed for a teen to have to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. Camp was hell and not all counsellors were kind or understanding enough. Depression hits on the drive home from the last camp trip and it’s there to stay.

Everything about who I was changed. I was not telling jokes. Not chasing trick was gone now. I couldn’t relate to ever knowing it. I stopped being social. The thought of seeing my friends felt like a burden. All I could focus on was that I was alone in my body. That no one would ever see through the same eyes as me, not ever. It filled me with a loneliness that only deepened when I was not alone.

This is not a great book by any means, but it’s breezy and occasionally brilliantly funny, and after reading it I think I like Silverman even more than I did when I started reading it. I particularly enjoyed the stories about the behind-the-scenes censorship tussles with Comedy Central over the content of The Sarah Silverman Program, particularly those uncovering a double standard in the way male and female genitalia could be described (men’s could be mentioned more explicitly than women’s). Her uncompromising approach to her art and craft and her musings on various serious issues, including religion, reveal her to be an intelligent, socially conscious person.

It’s a 3/5

The beginning was significantly funnier than the rest of it; it does sort of deflate around page 120 or so, picking up again when she writes about her friends at The Sarah Silverman Program; it’s definitely random and unorganized.

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