Shenanigans: A Memoir
Had James Thurber been born a nice Jewish girl from Bridgeport, Connecticut, he might have grown up to be Abby Kenigsberg. Kenigsberg’s world, like Thurber’s, is one where the ordinary is never more than a few steps from the oddball. This is a lively and funny memoir about an outwardly conventional life that has been far from ordinary. Shenanigans is a social history of one woman’s journey through our times, from Kennedy-era Wellesley College to the pressure-cooker news industry in Manhattan.
– David Guarino, Former Texas Capitol Correspondent, San Antonio Express-News
SHENANIGANS is the story of a woman who became a successful media watchdog and a more sympathetic wife, mother, and daughter. Always surrounded by witty and strong-minded people, especially her force-of-nature husband, Kenigsberg more than held her own. She pursued a serious career as a media critic and professor having earned respect from New York media. Kenigsberg delivers irreverent descriptions of college professors, corporate bigwigs and never-before-revealed encounters with Dan Rather, Leslie Stahl, Mike Wallace, and Alan King.
“Shenanigans: A Memoir” is available at Amazon, B&N, iUniverse, and Indie Booksellers.
Other Book By This Author
Cold Cuts on Wry consists of saucy observations about the human condition. Through poetry and slices of prose, she dishes out humorous and some serious takes on family life, advertising, and relationships.
Cold Cuts on Wry Review
As Abby Kenigsberg tells it, while a friend’s mother lay dying, the mother suddenly brightened up, called her son’s name, and said to him, “Remember, with laughter.”
Perhaps there’s no better description for the work of Kenigsberg herself – words to live by that need not be reserved for one’s deathbed. First it was Shenanigans, her memoir of how she became a successful media watchdog and a more sympathetic wife, mother, and daughter. Always surrounded by witty and strong-minded people, she played off their personas with a generous wit of her own, delivering irreverent descriptions of college professors, corporate bigwigs and her first-person encounters with Dan Rather, Leslie Stahl, Mike Wallace, and Alan King.
Now she brings us her second act – Cold Cuts on Wry, a collection of poetry and prose tackling a diverse range of personal experiences and societal foibles. The individual vignettes are beautifully and poignantly expressed, and unlike later-day Saturday Night Live skits that deliver a punch line then extend the joke for about five minutes too long, Kenigsberg’s points are short and sweet, providing the sock, getting in and out, and swiftly moving to the next with readers still contemplating their previous aha moment.
In Cold Cuts on Wry, no topic is off limits – birds, Cleopatra, moving boxes, Apple Computer, fashion jeans, hospitals, husbands, Challah, fishing, Bloomingdale’s, trees, lawyers, justice, flan, you get the idea. And that’s not to say Kenigsberg “attacks” each of her subjects – more so observes them, studies them, in some cases cherishes them, but all with a writing style sure to engage and enlighten.
- She introduces two “girls” – Sarah Toxin and Margarita – who have the power to change your attitude.
- Likening the expression on her dog’s face as he waits to be washed and trimmed at the salon to a father attending a middle-school violin concert.
- Ripping apart the template to create a Petrarchan sonnet.
- The idea that what Apple products are really selling are dreams, or stories, or, as the author puts it, iMythology.
- How she makes an interesting journey to find cartons at a grocery store in preparation for a move.
- How she navigates out of being the 98th person in line to get a signed copy of a new book by David Sedaris.
But understand that not all of Kenigsberg’s writing is fun and games. She is a keen observer of the world around us, of family dynamics, of relationships in general, and many of the day-to-day emotions people might take for granted and don’t stop to consider or dissect.
In fact, therein lies the glory of Kenigsberg’s poetry and prose: She forces us to think in ways and on topics we may have ignored, whether poking fun at an object or institution, or helping us understand an attitude or action. At the very least, she beckons us to stop and consider its meaning and ramifications.
“When people laugh, a bond is formed,” she says. “Sharing what frightens you, what you wonder about, or what amuses you builds community.”
“My hope is that my poetry makes you smile, and that smile sheds a small light on any weakness or worries you might have.”
A noble objective. A wonderful delivery. -Book Trib