by Tabatha Hanly
But Enough About You by Christopher Buckley
Christopher Buckley’s But Enough About You is a collection of essays on friends, enemies, frustrations, and life lessons. Buckley begins the book telling (confessing isn’t the right word) his readers that he lies to them (reader beware, veracity may be subject to the author’s sense of humor), however, it only takes a few pages to decide it does not matter if the stories are true: they are still interesting, funny, and moving. Be it the heartfelt memorials to lost friends, the story of a President who calls himself “The Vishnu,” or the fake development histories which I hope are true, Buckley’s style and humor keep you turning the pages even while you think ‘that couldn’t possibly be true…could it?’
Drawing on his experience in politics, aging, and making people laugh, Buckley’s topics range from politics to travel and iconic authors, with a stop off for horoscopes somewhere in between. Amid stories that make you snort with laughter over the antics of former presidents, there are accounts of beautiful cities viewed with beautiful companions. The travel essays focus more on the experience of exploring a new place than the physical beauty of the landscape, as the title to “Into Thin Hair” attests, but Buckley doesn’t forget to gush about how beautiful the Pere-Lachaise cemetery is, nor to muse on the lives of its residents. For those looking forward instead of back, Buckley’s vaguery-free horoscopes are nothing if not specific and directive; they offer practical advice such as “Go easy on the hollandaise—your cardiologist has four kids in college and is just looking for an excuse to do a triple bypass” and “Menace the people at the next table with the pepper grinder.” At least they don’t warn you to watch out for an attractive stranger.
Beyond the astrological advice, these essays have something to teach, whether it is the startling fact that successful adults still get nervous, or that it is probably best to wait until your child is out of the toddler years before teaching him to ski Buckley mixes his well-known humor and wit with the emotional and introspective to cross topics and genres in a series of essays that somehow all fit into one book.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of But Enough About You, if only to learn how an explosive device became a chew-toy for the First Pooch and why there is a chapter called “You Thieving Pile of Albino Warts.”