Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories by Mike Birbiglia

For once, I saw the movie before I read the book. Birbiglia's movie Sleepwalk with Me is a based-on-real-life story about a young man finding his way in comedy as the rest of his life falls apart.* The title is drawn from his struggles with REM sleep disorder, which causes him to act out his dreams. The movie alternates between funny, awkward, and sad. I found it unsettling but worth watching.

Despite the title, this book doesn't share much content with the movie, just the last few chapters. It also includes some of the same stories/jokes Birbiglia uses in his stand-up routines, but he provides more detail here to appeal to hardcore fans.**

Anyway, it is hilarious. Birbiglia is a likable "average guy" sort of character with a great sense of humor. My only complaint is that the stories are not in chronological order, which is sometimes confusing, but I suppose he chose this format because it mimics a stand-up routine.

* It seems strange that Birbiglia would fictionalize such a personal story, but I suppose it gave him more creative leeway with the movie script (this book is not fictionalized, as far as I know).

** Does Birbiglia have any hardcore fans?

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