Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: "Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?" by Kenneth M. Walsh

Kenneth Walsh's kenneth in the (212) is one of my favorite blogs, one I visit frequently each day. While we don't agree on everything (particular his allegiance to Roger Federer versus my Rafael Nadal fanhood), his snarky, pop culture-savvy, humorous look at society and the things that interest him never fail to amuse, enlighten, and/or expand my literary, cinematic, or musical horizons. (Plus he features daily pictures of hot guys. I'm only human.)

But reading Kenneth's blog didn't adequately prepare me for how much I would enjoy his new memoir, Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? While his frequent posts provide glimpses into his sense of humor, his pet peeves, and his passion for certain things (and people), Walsh's book is warm, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny in places, and surprisingly moving. He really is an excellent and engaging writer.

Quite often while reading Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?, I felt as if Walsh was speaking directly to me. Whether sharing his feelings about coming to terms with his sexuality in light of public attitudes in the 1970s and 1980s, his comfort with adults rather than his classmates (particularly several of his teachers), and struggling with the bullying of some of his peers, I found myself nodding, completely identifying with what he was saying. I was also moved by his tales of his relationship with his mother (from whom he clearly gets some of his wicked sense of humor) and his estranged father. (And Kenneth, I totally get the mouse thing—I was fortunate I had a roommate willing to handle that "issue" when I lived in a house with a small rodent problem.)

For the pop culture savant that I am, Walsh's references to everything from Family Affair (he totally envied Buffy, Jody, and Cissy) and Joyce Bulifant (Match Game enthusiasts, you'll know who I'm talking about) to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Thomas Roberts, and vintage Good Morning America hosts David Hartman and Nancy Dussault were absolutely fantastic. And as someone who isn't quite at ease in social situations (despite my love of talking), and not particularly tolerant of other people's quirks, I really identified with Walsh's discussions of his extreme social anxiety and his battling misophonia (being distracted, even enraged by the small sounds people make that others don't hear or pay attention to).

What I loved so much about Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? is that I felt like I truly got to know what has made Kenneth Walsh the person he is, which makes me appreciate his blog all the more. This is a well-written, funny book with a lot of heart, and I enjoyed it even more than I thought I might. It's great to read a memoir about a person who has such a passion for what he does, and the things he likes, but recognizes that his life isn't perfect. Definitely a keeper.


  1. Nadal over Federer? Surely you jest.

  2. Don't get me wrong; I appreciate Federer's talent. I just like Nadal more. It, like my review of Kenneth's book, is my opinion.