I just want to start out by saying that I like author Barbara Venkataraman. We email each other, we talk about grammar, videos, books, her writing style, my writing style. There are times I feel that we could almost be sisters. No, we’re not “real” friends although we are friends on Facebook and on Goodreads, does that count? I don’t travel from Brooklyn to Florida to share a mid morning cup of coffee with her and she doesn’t fly from Florida to Brooklyn to borrow some sugar from me but we do get along. Air fares are so expensive these days anyway.

Barbara and I share a similar sense of humor so I started reading “Quirky Essays for Quirky People: The Complete Collection” because I write essays about my life, as if anyone but me cares about that.

I enjoyed her essays and not just because I like Barbara. In the book she talks about her fears (lightening); how her father tore up the dining room floor to find a hot water leak; how she lived like the Amish when Hurricane Wilma torpedoed in on Florida as a category 2 storm back in 2005 and she and her family had to live without electricity for, horrors, 13 days! When Hurricane Sandy flooded Brooklyn in 2012 I didn’t have electricity for exactly 24 hours and that was much too long for me.

Barbara also wrote about how a sneeze threw her back out which ended up having various doctors and her dentist telling her what she should be doing to care for herself being a woman of a “certain age”; how she would get annoyed at pet owners for constantly talking about their pets and showing photos of them all the time. I can kind of sympathize with that. But with me, I get annoyed at all the mothers I know who talk about their little angels non stop and show me hundreds of pictures. Pure torture at times. But, I’m not talking about you, of course.

“So what!” you might say. “I have stories like that too and much worse than not having electricity for 13 days.” That’s the point. We all have stories that Barbara talks about. In every essay you can identify with what she went through or is going through. We all have these stories which is why I thoroughly enjoyed this collection.

Barbara finds the humor in all the little problems and daily activities that we all have to somehow get through. Oh, yeah, we can laugh about the Atlantic Ocean flooding our homes now but while it was going on it wasn’t so amusing. The hard part is writing and sharing these life adventures with others and Barbara does it beautifully. I did laugh at places, I did nod in agreement at others, and I did say, “Yep, done that” at other times, and I laughed at every story she shared. Her essays inspired me to write more essays of my life. I now warn all the people that know me to watch out because I do use you as my fodder.

Unlike me, Barbara Venkataraman doesn’t just write essays, she’s also a pretty good novelist. Take a look at her Jamie Quinn Mystery Series.

“Quirky Essays for Quirky People: The Complete Collection” is a nice, fun collection to browse through. You’ll end up reading more of Barbara’s essays than you think and they will make an impression on you.


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