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Book review: "Screw Everyone" by Ophira Eisenberg

Published April 29, 2013 7:28 am

Nonfiction • Comedian maps trajectory — and destination — of a series of romantic escapades.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As the title suggests, Ophira Eisenberg's charming memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, has a storybook ending. But the Canadian-born comedian, who hosts the NPR quiz show "Ask Me Another," only reluctantly stumbled across domestic bliss following a decade-plus of tumultuous, disappointing and hilarious romantic escapades. A streak of rebellion and independence runs through all Eisenberg's tales, making it very hard to begrudge her a happy ending.

A Calgary, Alberta, native, Eisenberg spent her 20s and early 30s making her way in stand-up and, every few years, hoisting a bag on her back and moving alone to a big new Canadian city (and eventually to New York, where she now lives).

Eisenberg finds herself in the minority of her female peers for prioritizing having a good time over finding "the one." She encounters her fair share of weirdos as she plays the field, but rarely gets hung up on any of them for long. They're great material, after all: One man is revealed to have a vast collection of Garfields overtaking his bedroom. Another man's idea of getting to know her is to get stoned and air-drum to a two-hour Devo concert video zoomed in to just the drummer.

Eisenberg has long proved her storytelling mettle on a variety of stages, notably at the New York reading series the Moth. Screw Everyone lives up to her reputation. Eisenberg is clearly not just a great comedian; she's a great writer, comfortable holding back the urge to joke in favor of evocative impressions of big-city life, of New York's seemingly intractable dating scene, and of her male-dominated profession. Little feels exaggerated in Screw Everyone, which is rare for a comedic memoir, and it rises above the current crop not only as a well-written, original story, but as a celebration of female sexual freedom.