By Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
The authors of Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered are the hosts of the very popular My Favorite Murder podcast. My sister-in-law got me listening to this podcast in early April of this year, just a few weeks before the book was published. My Favorite Murder is a comedy/true crime podcast, where the hosts talk about different true crime cases and bring a little humor (and often some sound advice) into the darkness as they discuss each story.
The book came out at the end of May, and I thought it was one I wanted to add to my personal library, so I went ahead and bought it in early June and started reading. While I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with their book, I knew I loved to listen to Karen and Georgia and was excited to read the definitive how-to guide to both staying sexy AND avoiding being murdered.
A side note: as with Billy Jensen’s Chase Darkness with Me, I mean no disrespect when referring to the authors simply as “Karen and Georgia.” I’ve been listening to them for so long at this point that it feels weird to type Ms. Kilgariff and Ms. Hardstark, it sounds too formal here. Sorry, Ladies!
Anyway, I immediately started reading the book and it was both nothing like I expected and everything I expected at the same time. It’s not a true crime book, but more of a memoir/self help book. The podcast has some common themes like “f*ck politeness,” “you’re in a cult, call your dad,” and “stay out of the forest.” They have highlighted eight of these themes, with Karen and Georgia writing their own chapter for each one. In each chapter they draw from their own life experience making me laugh and cry, and also just putting out some pretty good advice in general. Just like they do on their podcast.
Another note: I should probably let everyone know that this book (like the podcast) is not afraid to swear. If you are hyper-sensitive to bad language, this book really isn’t for you.
You may have noticed I started this book in early June, but now it’s already December (what?!) and I’m just reviewing it. That’s because after I finished part one, my sister-in-law excitedly let me know that Karen and Georgia had narrated the audio book. Of course I needed to listen to this one. Turns out, there was a pretty big waitlist for the online audio book at our library and it took about five months before I finally got to borrow it. But the wait was worth it. I loved hearing Karen and Georgia’s stories in their own words.
I found I really identified so much with Karen. She’s five years older than me (Georgia is five years younger), and I related a lot to stuff about her childhood and growing up in the 1980s. But I really got invested with Karen in chapter one when I learned that her mom had passed away a few years ago from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Just like my dad. Her first chapter was actually pretty tough for me to read. I cried a lot. But from then on I knew I was reading a book written by two women I could really identify with. And the writing is great. And some of the advice they give is exactly what I needed to hear. It is just one of those books that came into my life at just the right time.
In a lot of reviews, I like to take a favorite quote and make a picture out of it (which I did above). But in this one I also want to highlight a whole passage. Hopefully you can read it. Click on the image to see the full size picture.
That’s one of my favorite pictures of my dad and my grandma that I put above the book. (She had Alzheimer’s, too.) Anyway, Karen explaining to a friend what dealing with Alzheimer’s is like just spoke to me so much. Because she found a way to put into words EXACTLY what it’s like. You’re in the water with the killer shark, and you can’t leave, and there’s nothing you can do about it. And you’re scared, and you’re angry, and you’re sad, and you’re tired. And it feels like you are alone, but you are not alone. There are other people going through the same thing in their own body of water.
Karen and Georgia cover a lot more in the book. Some of it is light-hearted. Some of it is not. Part one gave me my favorite Karen piece. My favorite Georgia piece came in part two (“Sweet Baby Angel”) where she talks about how Ray Bradbury books became her salvation and turned her life around. It is pretty awesome.
So if you like memoirs, or self help, or comedy, or swearing, or a combination of all of these things – give Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered a try. And listen to it if you can. The narrators are fantastic.