In Eric Poole's first memoir, 2010's Where's My Wand?, he chronicled his pre-teen years, during which he escaped daily bullying and a neat-freak mother by secretly pretending to be Endora from Bewitched. Poole's lighthearted and charming second memoir, Excuse Me While I Slip into Someone More Comfortable, picks up in the late 1970s, when the high schooler begins to suspect he might be gay. His coping strategies remain as dubious as in the first book--he plans to make himself cool by emulating the fashion style of his idea of a babe-magnet, Barry Manilow.
His initial sexual encounters with a girl are hilarious. His first time, he throws up on her. Later, opting for a more romantic atmosphere, he sets the stage with the soundtrack to Barbra Streisand's A Star Is Born cued up on his cassette tape recorder. Trying to figure out how to use a condom, he asks his date, "Well, do I just put it on the top like a beret?" Post-high school, he works at a travel agency. His snarky and inappropriate e-mails to coworkers ("Your body is like a children's playground--sticky, full of germs, and frequented by perverts") don't get him fired, they get him a humor column in the agency's monthly newsletter. Equally funny are his misadventures working at an ad agency and his stumbling attempts to find his way out of the closet.
Poole's acerbic but goodhearted tale of navigating that difficult period between living at home with parents and entering the adult world is a refreshing and inspiring read. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant