Book Review: Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam

Allow me to preface this review by stating the fact that typically, I enjoy memoirs. Memoirs, in my opinion, mark the struggles, triumphs, courage and stamina of a person. They signify a life that has truly been lived and allow a person to share their lives with others who may benefit from reading their story.

Julie Klam was born and raised in a Jewish family where her mother and many other Jewish wives and women in general believed that women did not work. Instead, they married rich men, spent their husband’s money on luxuries that purely benefit the way they look and eat and nothing else and have a few children before they are expected to get a job and contribute to their families. Julie was not only raised in this lifestyle, she inhabited this lifestyle and truly made it her own.

Her mother frequently took her out of school so she could go shopping and wear the best clothes out of all of the girls she went to school with because she was raised thinking that that was the important part of life–The best clothes, the best hair, the best nails and so on. Because of her upbringing, Julie did not receive the education that she deserved as a young child growing up.

As every adult knows, there comes a time when you need to become an adult; to grow up and take responsibility for your life and eventually, for your family. Sadly, Julie Klam never did break away from the way she was raised and instead, formed a lifestyle around fear and laziness.

On the back cover of Julie Klam’s memoir, Please Excuse My Daughter, you will see a laundry list of pseudo-accomplishments. She had attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where it was a requirement of hers to watch a countless number of movies. She was an intern at Late Night with David Letterman, she landed her first “real” job at VH1 on the popular music video show, Pop Up Video, where she met and later married the show’s producer, Paul Leo. It was for Pop Up Video that she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Class Writing; however, as good as “Emmy Nominated Writer” looks by your name, she simply received that nomination in conjunction with the rest of the writing staff of the show. Since then, she was also published in O: The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Rolling Stone, although you learn in her book that her close friend works for Rolling Stone, so it is obvious to see how she landed that gig.

Julie Klam’s life has been a series of excuses. Excuses as to why she had never had a real job that she could stick with and not because she simply enjoys the life of freelancing, but because she is simply incapable of being an adult. Throughout her memoir, where at 257 pages, was 256 pages too long, Julie whines, complains and feels sorry for herself for not being able to highlight her hair or go to Saks; she is truly her mother’s daughter.

Julie Klam simply wrote an entire memoir based upon what most “mommy bloggers” are writing about now, yet most mommy bloggers are far more entertaining and don’t lose their reader after a few posts. As a matter of a fact, Heather Armstrong of Dooce did write a book and from what I have been hearing, it’s a hell of a lot more interesting to a broader range of people than what the reviews of Please Excuse My Daughter are receiving across the board.

While Please Excuse My Daughter is written very well and some of the times is absolutely hilarious, Julie Klam’s memoir is long, dry and sticks to your throat as you try to swallow it. In my (most humble) opinion, I believe that the next time Julie Klam finds herself in another slump and needs money desperately, instead of writing a memoir (because this one surely is not going to make her the millions she lies awake dreaming of at night) she should opt for children’s books. She has a wonderful sense of humor and a talent for writing humor and should apply her talents to something not so involved; something that will not let her drag out a story and pretend it is epic when it simply falls flat.

Taken from Julie’s own blog, in a post written about Goodreads, a site where people are able to keep track of the books they want to read, have read and write reviews, you can tell what a self-assured woman Klam is when she responds to those who do not enjoy her book and agree with her that she is brilliant by saying, “…I’m thinking of leaving the Author Program, too, because I want to write nasty things to people who give my book low ratings and I don’t want them to know it’s me. (Like “Sorry, I didn’t write the book for half-wits.”) You know?”

Well Julie, who did you write this book for? If it was for yourself, then I suggest you stick to journaling your random thoughts and long monologues about why your life is so hard. If you wrote the book for well-read individuals looking for a book about someone’s life who has accomplished something and who actually has something to say, well I’m here to tell you that you’ve disappointed your ideal audience.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam”

  1. i could not agree more with you guys… i read this post because i am looking for a book, and i thought that this book could be interesting, and i think i should be looking for something else.. thanks for the review…

  2. I read this book a while ago and wrote a review of it on my blog… couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly, though you were a lot nicer than I was! And yet I got slammed by Klam’s friends and family for that review.

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