Lizz Free or Die


(Get it here)

I now feel like I know Lizz Winstead's parents. I only wish I had actually met them. I have, however, actually met Lizz, and what a hoot of a gab fest that was. Here's a treat for those who haven't had the pleasure of a face to face conversation with her: the chance to get to know her and her parents, her friends, her bosses, employees, dogs, and her most private moments (and even *gasp!* lady parts) in her book, Lizz Free or Die.

My recommendation: Read it.

I don't write reviews, so this post is a stream of consciousness series of impressions that I wanted to share with you, much like her book is a series of essays in which she shares various turning points in her life.

Reading this book was like sitting across the table at the Aroma Cafe and talking to Lizz in person. I could hear her voice, her intonations, see her eye rolls and her tears. It's a cozy, quirky, poignant, funny, personal, frank, heartbreaking, raw, intelligent, outspoken, sometimes even jaw-dropping account of the highs and lows of Lizz's life, moments that mattered, that really meant something to her, that were ludicrous, frustrating, heartwarming, excruciating, and often life-changing.

Her chair was an actual character in the book. Seriously.

So were her dogs, in alternately endearing and cringe-worthy detail.

So were religion, gender, her computers, her parents' apartment, and comedy as a way to communicate (my mantra!). If there's one thing Lizz excels at, it's communication.

And as she tells her tales, she abruptly encourages us to stop reading and Google references she makes, just like someone would in a one-on-one conversation.

She also  interrupts herself to offer up definitions, mid-paragraph, of compound words she's coined, like:

Foxogenarian: improper n. Elderly person with hearing loss who gets all of her information from Fox news, consequently forming opinions based on getting half of half of the truth.

And just as we're giggling at her snarkitude, she takes a hard turn and holds our hand through the deaths of her beloved-but-judgmental parents... when we feel like we should be holding hers.

Or she introduces us to her prom date. He was 17, she was 36.

She reveals all kinds of experiences, like her introduction to show biz via her adventures and misadventures, from co-creating The Daily Show to co-founding Air America Radio to one stint in TV land that she painfully recounts and passionately regrets.

Lizz is a fallible pioneer, someone you admire and respect, a big deal, yet a woman you can relate to, someone who is truly decent, who can intimidate with her boldness and inspire with her courage and talent, someone with whom you feel perfectly comfortable snuggling up with in The Chair and chatting with all night long while downing an array of alcoholic beverages chased by guilt-inducing heart attack-inducing snacks.

Oh, and then there's that yummy Moment of Foolish Grin during which you discover who "discovered" Rachel Maddow.

So if you're not that familiar with her, with Lizz Free or Die you get to discover Lizz Winstead and be Lizzilluminated.