Where’s My Wand
Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and David Rakoff have all produced winning memoirs of their demented, alternately heartrending and sidesplitting late- twentieth-century American childhoods. Now, first-time author Eric Poole joins their ranks with his chronicle of a childhood gone hilariously and heartbreakingly awry in the Midwest of the 1970s.
From the age of eight through early adolescence, Poole sought refuge from his obsessive-compulsive mother, sadistic teachers, and sneering schoolyard thugs in the Scotchgarded basement of his family’s suburban St. Louis tract house. There, emulating his favorite TV character, Endora from Bewitched, he wrapped himself in a makeshift caftan and cast magical spells in an effort to maintain control over the rapidly shifting ground beneath his feet. But when a series of tragic events tested Eric’s longstanding belief that magic can vanquish evil, he began to question the efficacy of his incantations, embarking on a spiritual journey that led him to discover the magic that comes only from within.
Fragrant as it is of Love’s Baby Soft perfume and hormones, Poole’s memoir of growing up gay and Baptist in the 1970′s would be worth reading if it were just gut-splittingly funny (he describes himself as the kind of boy who would only crawl beneath a car “to retrieve a Cher album that had rolled under it”). But Wand is also a deeply moving account of a boy’s attempt to control his world with his own brand of magic. That world includes his sometimes terrifying family (his OCD mother makes him rake the shag carpet every night), an armless best friend and a golden boy Poole hoped to anoint with – well, Poole kind of thought it was the spirit of Jesus. It’s Poole’s mother, though, who is the standout character. Annihilating and loving by turns, she makes Sophie Portnoy look like June Cleaver, yet Poole finds her humor and humanity. We should all have such tenderness toward our parents. ~ People Magazine
A quirky, irreverent story of growing up odd in the 1970′s, when people still wrote letters, loved shag carpeting and used carbon paper.
Fox Television radio-marketing executive Poole grew up in the Midwest in a family, and among an assortment of characters, destined to end up in a coming- of-age memoir. Some of the more entertaining stories include the chaos of his parents’ fighting in 1969; the author’s befriending of the sarcastic, armless Stacy (who “exhibit[ed] her stumps to the amazement and awe of the gathered fourth-graders”); his magical obsessions with Bewitched, which included an unhealthy attachment to Endora; and his failed exorcism of another bow in Bible school. From his early childhood, when he escaped into his family’s basement to chant magical charms to ward off alienation and chaos, through his teenage years, when the normal teenage panic was amplified by the added bewilderment of his awakening homosexuality, Poole shares an intimate, self-effacing chronicle of a unique young boy and the forces that molded him into the grounded, articulate, charming oddball he is today. The real charm of the book lies in the authenticity of the humor. There is not one forced moment in the book, now is there a stitch of disingenuous manipulation to get a cheap laugh or manufacture a setup to a joke. Each entertaining tidbit grows from the characters, their lives, their struggles and their unforgivably shameless honesty. This is the story of growing up as the exception but learning to understand that if you’re lucky and have the right mix of crazy people in your life, being the exception can morph into being exceptional. A witty, observant, deliciously satisfying autobiography.
~ Kirkus Reviews
I loved Where’s My Wand. I wish I had once been a 12-year-old boy so that I could have written it. He’s got the right mixture of being unforgivably witty, embarrassingly dorky, endearing without overly being sentimental, and clearly isn’t afraid of stripping himself emotionally naked for the sake of a bold laugh. It’s a runaway charmer, hands down.
~ Laurie Notaro, author of The Idiot Girl’s Action Adventure Club
Eric Poole unfurls his shag carpeted, Match Game-lovin’ 70’s childhood with incredible wit and honesty. Light up a Winston, open a Tab and tuck in!
~ Simon Doonan, author of Beautiful People
Oh, I wish Eric Poole had been a Brady, because I would love to have been his mother. This story of a young boy in the 70′s who is searching for the ‘magic’ in his life begins as a hilarious read, and ends as a profoundly touching tale of traumas and triumphs. I adored it! ~ Florence Henderson
It made me jump up and down and holler ‘Yummy’, like my grandmother Mary Lucille’s red velvet cake!
~Leslie Jordan, Co-Star of Boston Legal and Will & Grace
An absolute must-read book for the outcast in all of us, WHERE’S MY WAND is hilarious and heartfelt. I could not put this book down – it’s a rare treat.
~Recording artist Jim Brickman