Amanda Gates

Book: Lizz Free or Die

So I’ve read Tina and Mindy and now I read Lizz. Three comediennes with memoirs. They’re all such smart, witty, courageous women who I feel cracked some major glass ceilings on their way to the top. Like I wrote with Mindy’s book, I hate to compare them to each other, but it’s hard not to. If you want a one-sentence review: While I laughed harder at Bossypants, I related more and just felt more with Lizz Free or Die.

If you’re from Minneapolis, you’d probably agree with me there. Lizz came of age in the absolute best time in Minneapolis. She was dancing at First Avenue before it was First Avenue. Because of this she had connections and was then alerted to when Prince (PRINCE!) was there and she’d head down and dance while he overlooked the floor from the DJ booth. She was even a DJ at First Avenue for a stint. She roomed with a member of Soul Asylum. I mean, come on! So, very, very awesome.

I have the same hatred for cable news that she does, so reading her rants about that broken system of “journalism” is right up my alley. I love the Daily Show, and she’s the co-creator, so it was so interesting to read about how she put that show together. She brought Stephen Colbert over from the Today Show and look where he’s at now. I never listened to the short-lived Air America, but that too would’ve been something up my alley. Winstead played a huge role in getting this new radio station on the air. I never realized all the work it took to create a radio program, let alone an entire radio station, so that part was fascinating.

She also writes about her aging parents and how they lived in a not-quite-assisted-living complex in Bloomington. The place sounds nearly identical to where my grandparents lived, so her stories about the set up of the building, the folks who hung out by the main entrance and watched every visitor who arrived, etc., made me nod my head and laugh out loud.

I started following Winstead on Twitter a few years ago because her hilarious tweets were always getting re-tweeted. And then her mom got sick and passed away right around the same time as my mom and I felt a connection. She only talks briefly about her mom’s death in the book, but there’s a chapter about her dad’s passing, and it’s all very moving, yet with a sense of humor. I admire the way she writes about this time in her life.

It’s quick, it’s inspiring and it’s darn funny. It was a good book to get me out of a book funk.

Comments

Lizz

I really think you'd like her book. She can tweet a ton, but her book feels so different than her Twitter personality. And I meant to mention how frickin' cool it was that she pretty much brought Maddow out of a small radio station in New England... and look where she is now. That's awesome.

Air America

I LOVED Lizz on Air America. I listened to her religiously with Rachel Maddow and Chuck D on Unfiltered. I MOURNED Unfiltered when it went off the air and now don't miss a night (albeit the next morning on iTunes) of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. That's the Lizz I know. I agree with you that Lizz (and I'd add Rachel, too) have an amazing perspective on journalism. This sounds like a great read, I was a little nervous because I find her tweets mostly hilarious, but often just too much. But your review reminded me of my Air America Lizz.

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