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Sample a bit of Jenny Slate’s imagination in ‘Little Weirds’

November 4, 2019
This cover image released by Little, Brown and Company shows "Little Weirds" by Jenny Slate. (Little, Brown and Company via AP)
This cover image released by Little, Brown and Company shows "Little Weirds" by Jenny Slate. (Little, Brown and Company via AP)

“Little Weirds” (Little, Brown and Co.), by Jenny Slate

Jenny Slate is an artist in the broadest sense of the word. You may know her as a comedian, an actress, or a co-creator of short films. She lends her matchless voice to several animated films and even writes children’s books. If you look at her body of work, you would categorize her as a funny human being.

“Little Weirds” diverges in an entirely different direction. Instead of laughing at her embarrassing stories or learning what it’s like to be a performer on “Saturday Night Live,” you should prepare your psyche to dig deeper. Adjust your expectation of a run-of-the-mill memoir and ready yourself to drop straight into Slate’s imagination.

Slate writes about love and heartbreak, living and dying. Although these topics are relatively relatable, the creative approach of each essay is abstract. Her ability to paint a meticulous mental picture with nothing but words on a page can only be described as gifted. As a result, we join her in her dreams, in the body of a mouse, various states of death and meeting the dark-haired man.

At times the essays feel like sporadic streams of consciousness torn from random pages of Slate’s diary. At other times, the language is so flowery, you need to read it twice to remotely understand where Slate is going. What else would you expect from a woman who celebrates all the little weirds in her life?