Amanda Gates

My Life as an Experiment

Because I’m a fan of his, I wanted to read A.J. Jacob’s latest go round. I don’t know if other essay fans agree, but once you start reading someone frequently – like Sedaris, Orlean, etc. in places like The New Yorker, Esquire, etc. - and then they release their latest book of essays, you’ve already read a few. Same thing happened here. Because we used to get Esquire at home, I’d read a few of these essays previously. I did reread them here, but you do lose a bit of the excitement for the new book.

I’m jealous of Jacobs. He gets to work from home and think up crazy experiments to live for a week, a month, a year. Sure, it drives his wife (and soon his children) crazy, but the guy gets paid to be curious and screw around. Tough life.

My two favorite essays were when he outsourced his life to India, and when he spent a month being the perfect husband. In the first, he hired two sweethearts of assistants from India to do everything for him – shop, send his e-mails, organize his life, make his decisions. One even apologized to his wife for him and also sent his boss a disagreeing e-mail. Thing is? Both recipients were perfectly happy with their e-mails from A.J.’s assistants. She obviously handled things much better than he ever could. A truly funny essay.

To be the perfect husband, Jacobs decided to be less disagreeable to his wife’s requests, and also to be all-around more respectful to her. He also said he would do anything she asked and try to do all the chores. In her words, it was the best month of their marriage, and Jacobs actually agreed that they got along much better. He wasn’t snippy at her, he didn’t ask “why” or provide a snarky response to everything she said (in fact, he realized on like day two how often he did that and how that really was a jackass way to be). When she listed off the chores she does around the house, he fully admitted he had no idea how much she does. And, that he had no idea some of those things even qualified as chores – filling the soap dispensers, buying birthday cards, buying gifts, DVRing shows, paying bills, scheduling doctor appointments… Again, when he realized how much she did, and how little he contributed, he grew to respect her and their relationship a lot more. Grand experiment; I loved this chapter. I always thought in his other books that he gave his wife kind of a bad time.

So, fast, quick, funny read. However a touch repetitive, since I’d read a few already. But, I’m anxious to see what’s next from Jacobs. Again, what a life.


I enjoyed The Year of Living

I enjoyed The Year of Living Biblically, and I'm on the lookout for more humorous reading, so I'll keep this one in mind.

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