Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on December 24, 2016
Ms. Mann goes full-on acerbic throughout 'Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat.' I'm assuming it's because I'm a guy that the book seemed just okay. It revolves around women's thoughts and actions which is fine but I found it difficult to relate. Her husband and son are the only males who are lampooned. Much of the stuff in Ms. Mann's work was over the top. I've been happily married for close to 35 years and after discussing the author's work with her, my wife isn't represented in these pages. Ms. Mann frequently ridicules the overly-pretentious, suburban, stay-at-home moms that apparently have money to burn.
The 200-page book is broken up into three sections and the chapters are short. Some of the topics the author addresses include middle and high school fashions, cliques, family Christmas photos, her parents getting it on, Christmas decoration hoarding, Elf on a Shelf, their house being the only one not decorated in her neighborhood for the holidays, Christmas shopping with her grandmother and two young-adult cousins, carolers, cookie exchanges, and the annual family Christmas letter. The last section addresses events which occurred during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, and Easter.
I smiled a handful of times while reading the thing, but I don't seem to have been the target market for the book. I did learn some cultural stuff that I discussed with my wife. She said much of what Ms. Mann portrays seems accurate. Wow, the anxiety many women put themselves through over the pagan holiday called Christmas is mystifying to me. Ms. Mann ridicules the holiday traditions as well as herself and her family in a heavy-handed manner. Subtlety apparently is not part of her DNA. If a book oozing sarcasm is your kind of thing, you'll probably love it.