Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Would Everybody Please Stop?

Would Everybody Please Stop?

Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas

Jenny Allen

Sarah Crichton Books

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"One of the funniest writers in America." -- Andy Borowitz

In Would Everybody Please Stop?, a collection of first-person essays and humor pieces, Jenny Allen asks the tough questions: Why do people say “It is what it is”? What’s the point of fat-free half-and-half? Why don’t the women detectives on TV carry purses, and where are we supposed to think they keep all their stuff? And haven’t we heard enough about memes?

Reporting from the potholes midway through life’s journey, Allen addresses these and other more serious matters, like the rude awakenings of being single after twenty-five years, of mothering a teenager, and of living with a serious illness. She also discusses life’s everyday trials, like the horrors of attempting a crafts project, the anxieties of being a houseguest, and the ever-changing rules of recycling.

Allen is a performer at heart -- her one-woman show I Got Sick Then I Got Better premiered in 2009, and she regularly acts in other plays -- and she brings that same spirit to these thirty-five short essays, which read like the work of a female Dave Barry. Writing on places both real (like a swag den for celebrities at Sundance and the parking lot at L.L.Bean’s flagship store) and imaginary (a Buddhist retreat attended by Martha Stewart, Elmer Fudd’s psychotherapy appointment), Allen’s wit and compassion give a fresh slant on the vicissitudes of day-to-day, and not so day-to-day, life.

EXCERPT

I’M AWAKE


I’m up. Are you up? I’m not up up, not doing-things up, because I’m supposed to be sleeping. I’m trying to go back to sleep. But I’m awake. Awake awake awake.

That’s what Buddha said. Buddha...

Reviews

Praise for Would Everybody Please Stop?

"Observant . . . charming and companionable . . . To read the entire collection is to feel that one has gained an eccentric, generous new friend” —Brook Allen, The Wall Street Journal

"A tartly funny and often piercingly emotional ramble through life at a certain age." —Penelope Green, The New York Times

"Most of the 35 very short essays in Would Everybody Please Stop? are either hilarious, heartfelt, or both . . . Wonderful . . . Allen can be playful, sarcastic, and astute . . . There's sharp wit and social commentary aplenty . . . As delightful as her humor is, her serious essays hit deeper . . . It's all good." —Heller McAlpin, NPR.org

"The secret to a good monologue—and to being a good monologist, of course—lies in being able to speak alone in a way that a group of other people wants to hear. The author-performer Jenny Allen has made her name over the years both on the page and on the stage as just such a storyteller . . . Fans of Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck and even the peevish Andy Rooney will find a lot to enjoy in these essays, which are lively and not afraid to be quarrelsome." —Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune

"If you can get your hands on Jenny Allen’s new book, Would Everybody Please Stop? you may be tempted to gobble it all up at one sitting, telling yourself, “Just one more, and then I’ll save the rest for later.” But don’t do it. Portion out these deliciously funny essays so that you can have some serious laughs a few days running. . . Some humor writers work very hard to be funny; others, like Ms. Allen, just can’t help themselves." —Martha's Vineyard Times

“A fantastic compilation of her greatest hits . . . Both heartfelt and hilarious” —Tory Daily

"A hysterical essay collection filled with so-called 'reflections on life' and 'other bad ideas' that will keep the tears (of laughter) coming." —Elite Daily

“Like humorist Erma Bombeck, yet for the 21st century, Allen has a conversational but dramatic performer’s voice that comes through in her essays and is a joy to spend time with as she deals with some of the harsher aspects of life . . . These pieces balance out into well-rounded set of writings that should please most humor fans; the lives of middle-aged women deserve more focus, and so Allen’s rich vein of pathos is a welcome addition. Verdict: Lovers of darkly humorous domestic comedy will enjoy this one . . . everyone should be able to find something to appreciate.” —Margaret Heller, Library Journal

"This level of humor is one of the hardest to pull off. Most writers on the Humor shelf don’t even try. In Would Everybody Please Stop? Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas, Jenny Allen rarely misses." —Jesse Kornbluth, Head Butler

"Am I permitted to say 'I laughed my ass off?' I was already a Jenny Allen fan, always hoping that every 'Shouts & Murmurs' piece would be hers, so imagine my delight in a collection of these gems. Would Everybody Please Stop? is deeply, wisely funny, with delicious, lovable neuroses on display. I adored it." —Elinor Lipman, author of On Turpentine Lane and The Inn at Lake Devine

"Jenny Allen gets to the heart of things in the most inventive, unexpected ways. And she’s funny. Really, really funny. Wildly funny. And sometimes she breaks my heart." —Delia Ephron, author of Siracusa

"I love this book more than Romeo loved Juliet. Also, it is so much funnier and more fun than that pill Juliet." —Patricia Marx, author of Him Her Him Again The End of Him

"Really it’s too bad that Jenny Allen refuses to drink in any bar with a giant fish tank, never called that raw food restaurant to ask for their insanely good German chocolate cake recipe, and caused the annoying family upstairs to vanish into thin air. Because otherwise Jenny Allen is just plain perfect." —Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Witches

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Jenny Allen

Jenny Allen is a writer and performer. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times, among other publications. Her award-winning solo show, I Got Sick Then I Got Better, has been seen in venues across the country and in Canada. She lives on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Would Everybody Please Stop? is her first book.

Jenny Allen

(c) David Welch Photography