Congratulations, Who Are You Again?
A Good Housekeeping Book of the Month This funny and wise new memoir from Harrison Scott Key, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, will inspire laughter and hope for anyone who’s ever been possessed by a dream of what they want to be when they grow up.Little-known author Mark Twain once said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why. He's talking about dreams here, the destiny that calls every living soul to some kind of greatness. What Mr. Twain doesn't say is: A dream is also a monster that wants to eat you. Nobody tells you this part of the American Dream — until now. In this new memoir, Congratulations Who Are You Again, readers join Harrison Scott Key on his outrageous journey to becoming a great American writer. As a young boy in Mississippi, Harrison possessed many special gifts, such as the ability to read and complete college applications. And yet, throughout young adulthood, he failed at many vocations, until one day, after drinking perhaps too many beers and dusting off his King James Bible, he stumbled across a passage about a lonely pelican, which burst into flame inside him. In a mad blaze of holy illumination, Harrison realized his dream: to set the world afire with the light inside him. He would write a funny book. This was his dream.With unforgettable wit and tenderness, Congratulations Who Are You Again is Harrison’s instructive tale of pursuing his destiny with relentless and often misguided devotion, transforming his life beyond all comprehension: He becomes a signer of autographs, a doer of interviews, a casher of checks that are "worth more money than my father had ever imagined any of us might see, this side of a drug-related felony."On this journey, Harrison finds that as he gains the world, he stands on the precipice of losing everything that means the most: his family, his mind, his soul. Hilarious, honest, and absolutely practical, Congratulations Who Are You Again is a no-holds-barred look at the life of every ambitious human creature, whether you want to write books or make music, start a business or start a revolution. This is a book for the dreamers.  

Congratulations, Who Are You Again? Details

TitleCongratulations, Who Are You Again?
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 6th, 2018
PublisherHarper Perennial
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Humor, Language, Writing, Biography, American, Southern

Congratulations, Who Are You Again? Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot overstate the importance of the humor in our lives, reading and otherwise. Sometimes one just desperately needs to pick up a funny book. Fortunstely, Harrison Scott Key agrees with me and has written a very humorous one, a glimpse into the life of a writer who finds himself on the cusp of being a recognized author. Not afraid to poke fun at himself, his dreams, his aspirations, his quest to have it all. As a child he loved to be the joker, loved to make people laugh, a role that often g I cannot overstate the importance of the humor in our lives, reading and otherwise. Sometimes one just desperately needs to pick up a funny book. Fortunstely, Harrison Scott Key agrees with me and has written a very humorous one, a glimpse into the life of a writer who finds himself on the cusp of being a recognized author. Not afraid to poke fun at himself, his dreams, his aspirations, his quest to have it all. As a child he loved to be the joker, loved to make people laugh, a role that often got him in trouble at school and with his parents, or others in authority. "On Saturday nights I listened to A Prairie Home Companion in my bedroom and tried to imitate Tom Keith's sound effects, while my mother stood at the locked door and prayed for me."Thought I was reading about my husband who often finds himself and his jokes more amusing than do I. In fact I'm giving him this book to him next to read. But as we know life is not all humor, and in an honest manner the book also explores some lessons learned, little detours, a mine field. Ones pursuit of Fame and glory, no matter how amusing one is, always has a price, and sometimes it is more than one wants to pay. ARC from Harper and Library thing.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    Harrison Scott Key, Congratulations, Who Are You Again? A Memoir (New York: Harpers, 2018) , 347 pages including five appendices and no illustrations except an ink figure of a dog drawn by Beetle, the author’s daughter, while I waited for him to sign my book.Over the years I have enjoyed reading memoirs by authors as I learn how they approach the craft and gleam advice for myself. Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, Eudora Welty,’s One’s Writer’s Beginning, Robert Laxalt’s, Travels with My Royal: Harrison Scott Key, Congratulations, Who Are You Again? A Memoir (New York: Harpers, 2018) , 347 pages including five appendices and no illustrations except an ink figure of a dog drawn by Beetle, the author’s daughter, while I waited for him to sign my book.Over the years I have enjoyed reading memoirs by authors as I learn how they approach the craft and gleam advice for myself. Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, Eudora Welty,’s One’s Writer’s Beginning, Robert Laxalt’s, Travels with My Royal: A Memoir of the Writing Life, and Dee Brown’s When the Century was Young are books that come to mind. I’ve also read many “how-to” books by authors who tell us how to approach the craft. Without looking at my shelf, I can recall Stephen King, On Writing; William Zinsser, On Writing Well; Ray Bradbury, Zen and the Art of Writing; and John McPhee, Draft #4. All these authors of memoirs and how-to books have an impressive list of publications under their belt when they sat down to give advice on writing. Harrison Scott Key decided he’d write his how-to memoir immediately following the publication of his first book. But then, his first book won the Thurber Prize. The real question is “why, after having read so many books on the topic, I haven’t published a best seller?” I’m not going to answer that and will stick to critiquing Mr. Key’s book.I enjoyed Congratulations, Who Are You Again? even though I am not sure I would have called this a memoir. I’m not sure what it is. Part of the book reads like a “how-to” manual for becoming famous and having a best seller. Part of the book is the author’s quest to discover his life’s purpose as he charges through much of his 20s and 30s like Don Quixote. Part of this books appears to be a sure-fire way to receive a summons to divorce court. Another part of this book is Mr. Key’s depository for lists. And just in case you didn’t have your fill of lists within the text, Key fills his appendices with lists. What is it about all these lists? I was wondering why he didn’t include a grocery list, but concluded that maybe his wife, out of gratitude for now having more than one toilet in the house, has volunteered to shop for the family. But my hunch is that Mr Key’s lists are actually passwords. What a better way to keep them close at hand than to have a book he can pull off his shelf and quickly recall his password for Facebook or Twitter or maybe even First Chatham Bank.And, one final “what is it…” What is it about depressed people and pelicans? Key speaks of his interest in these “freakish and ungainly” birds while depressed. Personally, I find pelicans graceful. A former professor of mine, Donald McCullough, while dealing with depression, actually published a book titled The Wisdom of Pelicans. Like my former professor, I find pelicans graceful, not freakish. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Mr. Key. If pelicans are so depressing, maybe I should give up watching the birds fish. But that sounds too depressing.That said, this is a funny book. And writing a funny book is one of Mr. Key’s life goals. He’s now achieved this goal twice, first with The World’s Largest Man, and now with Congratulations. Although Key acknowledges his indebtedness to a host of authors, he never mentioned the fabulous 1940 movie, “Sullivan’s Travels,” staring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake. In “Sullivan’s Travels,” McCrea plays a movie producer who wants to make a movie about the seriousness of the Great Depression in order to move people to respond in compassion. But after a misfortune, he has an epiphany and realizes people also need to laugh. Sullivan learns this wisdom after at the end of the film. Key comes this conclusion on page 49.My third complaint about Key’s writing (In case you weren’t keeping count: #1 complaint: Lists. #2 complaint: Rude remarks about pelicans) is his overuse of misdirects. Key will begin describing the great things that follow his things such as being published. Following such good news, Key rambles on about all the invitations to TV and radio shows to make an appearance. He seems to have a healthy crush on NPR’s Terry Gross. Others ask him to give keynote speeches. He’s also mugged by admirers on Savannah’s streets. Just when the reader is about to believe that there is a god who rewards hard work, the reader is redirected into what really happened. Usually nothing. The exception is an actual mugging on Savannah’s streets. Actually, Key never wrote about being mugged, but it could happen. These redirects were funny the first 57 times this reader fell for this comic technique, but the 58th time was just too much. As I was coming to the end of the book, I thought that if there was one more redirect, I’d rip the book apart and toss it out the window. Thankfully, being near the end, I was reading lists and it’s pretty hard to redirect a reader from one list to another. Who knew lists could be funny?Complaints aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and laughed a lot. My biggest take-away from Mr. Key is that writing is like giving birth. I’ve heard that before, but Key attaches his unique twist that refreshes this platitude: “Writing is like giving birth, and it is, it is just like giving birth, in the Middle Ages, when all the babies died.” (114). Writing is hard work, and such hard work in this case produces a book that the reader can easily read and enjoy.And one final comment for clarification. I am not the minister who accosted Keys in a restaurant asking to be included in his next book. Such a request is foolish for if Keys says the things he does about his wife and children, whom he obviously adores, what would he say about a coveting minister. Of course, the minister did find himself in the book, only he’s not identified. What fun is that?
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Funny and honest.
  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this memoir about writing a memoir (which I also enjoyed) very much. It was funny, sweet, and honest. The latter chapters, where he writes so tenderly about his family, are beautiful and heartwarming.
  • Blue Cypress Books
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant and funny and wickedly smart.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very funny and perseptive read. Harrison Scott Key writes about his experience of becoming a published author, with the ups and downs and lessons he learned along the way. Filled with humour and honesty. Thank You to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.•For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong
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  • Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    I found Key's first book when my son was about a year old and I was searching for good memoirs about father-son relationships. It did not disappoint, and I was very excited for this follow-up. Key is one of the funniest writer's I've read, but he also has an incredible ability to draw you into emotional moments. As with The World's Largest Man, I cried multiple times while reading it. This is not something that happens to me often, and we're not talking just a watery eye. These were real tears. I found Key's first book when my son was about a year old and I was searching for good memoirs about father-son relationships. It did not disappoint, and I was very excited for this follow-up. Key is one of the funniest writer's I've read, but he also has an incredible ability to draw you into emotional moments. As with The World's Largest Man, I cried multiple times while reading it. This is not something that happens to me often, and we're not talking just a watery eye. These were real tears. Then he had me laughing again while the tears were still on my face. The nice thing about the two books is that they share DNA, but are so very different. Congratulations, Who Are You Again is an excellent and intimate tale of the art and business of writing. It's a must read for aspiring writers, but is applicable to all arts, and many other fields as well. I look forward to whatever Key does next.
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  • Adam Bricker
    January 1, 1970
    This book has it all from struggle to joy to laughs to even a few dictionary words. The story is very relatable and heartfelt. When things got too real or too prove a point, there would be some sarcasm or self-deprecation to lighten the mood...I know this device well. Since this is a review book, they say to check the final edition before quoting...well, I'm too forgetful and frankly lazy to do that. So, I'm going to paraphrase this sentence that is around the middle of pg 264 and when you read This book has it all from struggle to joy to laughs to even a few dictionary words. The story is very relatable and heartfelt. When things got too real or too prove a point, there would be some sarcasm or self-deprecation to lighten the mood...I know this device well. Since this is a review book, they say to check the final edition before quoting...well, I'm too forgetful and frankly lazy to do that. So, I'm going to paraphrase this sentence that is around the middle of pg 264 and when you read it, you can figure it out. "A work of cheese is a tasty sandwich and not everybody likes dairy."
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  • Reading Fool
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book.This book was hilarious. And bittersweet. And inspiring. Harrison Scott Key's memoir focuses on his dream of writing a book, what it took to realize the dream, and what he learned along the way. There are many, many laugh-out-loud passages (I truly laughed out loud!), which all dreamers will relate to. It is also a window into the publishing world and what not-so-famous writers endure to sell their life's work. I cannot wait to share this book wit I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this book.This book was hilarious. And bittersweet. And inspiring. Harrison Scott Key's memoir focuses on his dream of writing a book, what it took to realize the dream, and what he learned along the way. There are many, many laugh-out-loud passages (I truly laughed out loud!), which all dreamers will relate to. It is also a window into the publishing world and what not-so-famous writers endure to sell their life's work. I cannot wait to share this book with my friends who dream of becoming the next Great American Writer.
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  • K.J. Dell'Antonia
    January 1, 1970
    Jess and I just finished recording the 2018 Gifts for Writers episode of the #AmWriting podcast, and we missed one: Harrison Scott Key's book, Congratulations, Who Are You Again--on having his dream of getting paid to write a "funny book" about his family come true and what that really looked like. Hint: it took 11 years, and it didn't end up as planned--but he DID get to write another book, so I'd say he won. As I writer, I treasured this honest read about the writing process, and even more abo Jess and I just finished recording the 2018 Gifts for Writers episode of the #AmWriting podcast, and we missed one: Harrison Scott Key's book, Congratulations, Who Are You Again--on having his dream of getting paid to write a "funny book" about his family come true and what that really looked like. Hint: it took 11 years, and it didn't end up as planned--but he DID get to write another book, so I'd say he won. As I writer, I treasured this honest read about the writing process, and even more about what comes after.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    I was initially a bit skeptical that the premise (a memoir about writing his first memoir) could sustain a whole book, but I liked The World's Largest Man so much that I gave this a chance, and I'm really glad I did. I think his writing is voice is growing more confident and relaxed than even his last book. He really did think a lot about what it was to dream, and expertly applied it to his own circumstance. I think "book people" will like this first and foremost, but like his last book, there's I was initially a bit skeptical that the premise (a memoir about writing his first memoir) could sustain a whole book, but I liked The World's Largest Man so much that I gave this a chance, and I'm really glad I did. I think his writing is voice is growing more confident and relaxed than even his last book. He really did think a lot about what it was to dream, and expertly applied it to his own circumstance. I think "book people" will like this first and foremost, but like his last book, there's something for everyone.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very entertaining read by an author writing about his experience of becoming a published author. It had just the right balance of describing the struggles of being published and self deprecating humor. There were even some laugh out loud moments during the course of the book. The description of the journey was impressive and it was a very enjoyable read. Although I had not read his first book, this book made me want to read more by this author! Reader received a complimentary copy fro This was a very entertaining read by an author writing about his experience of becoming a published author. It had just the right balance of describing the struggles of being published and self deprecating humor. There were even some laugh out loud moments during the course of the book. The description of the journey was impressive and it was a very enjoyable read. Although I had not read his first book, this book made me want to read more by this author! Reader received a complimentary copy from LibraryThing early reviewers.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    The library I work at received an advanced copy of this book and I was the first to pick it up. It started off with forced humor but then the focus of the story started and it flowed beautifully. This book gave great insight into what it’s like to be an “average” author. Well written and engaging!As an aside I have not read his first book which inspired this one but I will be adding it to my “to read” list.
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  • Cait
    January 1, 1970
    If you dream of being a writer and you also need a laugh- this book is for you. I love Harrison Scott Key. I don’t think I’ve every truly laughed out loud multiple times while reading a book in the past. I could not put this book down.
  • Maryellie
    January 1, 1970
    A funny book about an author who finally made it. Not exactly the type of book I would normally read but maybe I will read more books by Harrison Scott Key.
  • Sarah Baenen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a funny and charming account of how a book/dream comes to be born. I love this man's writing.
  • Ariel
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious, inspiring and informative (especially if you also have a dream, and especially if your dream is to write a book of your own).
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