Title: The Partly Cloudy Patriot
Author: Sarah Vowell
Release Date: September 23, 2003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Print) / Simon & Schuster Audio
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays, Audiobook
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In this essay collection, Sarah Vowell discusses subjects such as her obsession with Canada, her experiences at George W. Bush’s presidential inauguration, how life is different when you are a twin, and more.
The Partly Cloudy Patriot is a collection of observations and thoughts from Sarah Vowell, a gifted and highly amusing writer with an American history obsession. These essays are short; rather than being in-depth and focused pieces, they are random, almost stream-of-consciousness topics. While most have to do with America, history, and patriotism, Vowell also writes about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This makes for a completely novel experience while reading The Partly Cloudy Patriot; you never know where you will end up next, and it makes for a fun ride.
Just as in her other books, Vowell doesn’t hide her political leanings or personal opinions in The Partly Cloudy Patriot. This makes the book that much funnier, as she unleashes her biting, yet witty social commentary. Vowell is hilarious as she rails on about Tom Cruise and presidential libraries, injecting fascinating pieces of history while simultaneously entertaining the reader thoroughly. That being said, if you’re conservative politically (or supported George W. Bush), I’d shy away from not just this book, but all of Vowell’s works.
I listened to The Partly Cloudy Patriot on audio, and it ran just over 5 hours and was unabridged. Sarah Vowell does her own narration (along with a surprisingly star-studded cast, including Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien), and she is simply marvelous. I have maintained that audio is the best method through which to consume Vowell’s works, and that holds true for this book as well. While her voice does take a bit of getting used to at the beginning, the sarcasm and wit that comes through in her voice is priceless.
Having finished The Partly Cloudy Patriot, I have read all of Vowell’s backlist available on audio, and it makes me sad. She is so funny and so very talented, I absolutely love listening to her audiobooks and having the chance to learn something while laughing out loud. Though her newer books haven’t been quite as entertaining as The Partly Cloudy Patriot and Assassination Vacation, I still look forward to seeing what subject she tackles next.