A collection of Vowell's essays culled from several magazine/newspaper columns and This American Life, this is one of those books that is difficult for me to rate.
On the one hand, I found her dry humour entertaining, but on the other, I'm not a fan of cynicism in general, and Vowell's weaponised form often taxed my patience.
She and I are the same age, but our childhoods did not share much in the way of common experiences, and we definitely don't share a common political view. I was, in fact, incredulous that she referred to perjury on the part of a president as a "fib". But we do share a deep, abiding love for our country even when it disappoints and horrifies us.
The essays I connected with, or enjoyed most were the ones where she was able to put her disaffected persona to the side (or at least mute it) and talk about those experiences common to most everybody: battles with insomnia, her experiences at the rock and roll camp, learning to drive. There's an essay about Chicago that is brilliant and even though I think she let herself get in her own way, her piece on the Trail of Tears was devastating and moving.
So even though I can't say I loved this work, it's only because I was unable to find enough common ground to do so. But I do think Vowell is an excellent writer and I'd happily read more of her work; she has a book on famous assassinations I've had my eye on for some time now that I'm definitely going to hunt down.
I read this book for my final Free Friday read; it was 209 pages.