Page 45 Review by Stephen
Do you want to feel happier about your own life?
About your hang-ups, neuroses and self-confidence issues?
Sarah Anderson is here to make that happen, and hilariously so!
Perhaps you don't have any hang-ups, neuroses or self-confidence issues: laugh at Sarah's instead! She's positively inviting you to do so in a warm and welcoming way, from inside the most recent big woolly sweater she's stolen.
Highly recommended to readers of Allie Brosh's HYPERBOLE AND A HALF, anyone who's already read Andersen's ADULTHOOD IS A MYTH will know that she is mischievous, open and honest; and honesty is vital for this sort of comedy for without it you wouldn't connect and so be ticking all those recognition boxes.
I, for example, read this very first page in bed when I had written not one weekly review so far and desperately needed to crack on. I didn't get up until I finished the book.
To be fair, that's not so much my fault but Sarah's. Her comedy is comics' equivalent of Jaffa Cakes or Maltesers. I saw a bag of Maltesers the other day which boasted that it was resealable: I laughed so f***ing hard.
You also need consistency and conviction. Cumulative jokes are funny when they're variations on a theme and if you pander to what's popular you will lose your signature identity. Although there is the most excellent extended sequence involving Andersen's conversion from aversion to cats through the necessity of containing her mouse infestation, which grew so bad that she'd find half a dozen of them hanging off the latest sweater she'd stolen... while she was wearing it.
One of those variations on a theme involves hurt feelings. When someone hurts Sarah's feelings she shrugs them off; when someone hurts her friend's feelings she rides through the wall in a tank.
Although you remember I mentioned that matter of honesty? Exuberantly, flamboyantly, wearing a fur coat and shades:
"I'M A TOUGH B****!!! I DON'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE SAY!! I'LL DO WHATEVER I WA -"
Reality Rabbit, the tiny white bunny of truth, sympathetically steps in:
"Somebody hurt your feelings, didn't they?"
Silent panel, close-up, shades lifted: it's quite the beat.
Then, quietly, hands clasped around knees in a panel shared with Reality Rabbit but with ever so much grey space around them:
There are so many different devices deployed in the punchlines.
There's the ellipsis in 'There Are Two Types Of People', Anderson edging, slowly, gingerly into cold water followed by another girl throwing herself eagerly in: the joke lies in what you know happens next.
Then there's the paralysis on discovering the shocking cost of cute clothing. The camera pans back. A new gulf appears between the article in question and its previously smitten but now horrified, freeze-framed, bog-eyed potential customer widening, white-faced in the void.
What else will you find within? A whole load more clothes (seasonally adjusted), the squeeze of time when even on a Sunday you are worrying about Monday; finances, fears, learning and lyrics; tattoos and traumas, plus the brilliance of bottling up emotions so that neither you nor your friends have to face them. That's always a good idea, isn't it, because that glass is never going to shatter then leave sharp shards in your gelatinous brain fluids or mental make-up?
Emotional rollercoaster rides! Just because it's obvious, that doesn't make it any less than 100% true.
Then there's the cruelty of memory which wilfully chooses to fixate on mistakes. It's another extended sequence involving self-perception and over-thinking things which I for one am far from immune to. Jumping to conclusions? Andersen pole-vaults to them! You have to put some real effort into that.
So much of this comedy is visual that I could not possibly do Andersen justice in words.
I adore her when she dips into the difference between the sexes, during puberty especially or hanging out in a bar. Time and again she taps into truths then articulates them with verbal and visual, pithy wit and dexterity.
My favourite truth above all in this outing is 'How I Spend Money'.
I have gleefully shown so many customers this final page over the course of the week and each one of them howled. They giggled, guffawed; they cackled and cried real tears at the counter in recognition.
After which I successfully rinsed them for every penny they had.