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Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  603 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Maeve Higgins was a bestselling memoirist and comedian in her native Ireland when, at the grand old age of thirty-one, she left the only home she’d ever known in search of something more. Like many women in their early thirties, she both was and was not the adult she wanted to be. At once smart, curious, and humane, Maeve in America is the story of how Maeve found herself, ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Penguin Books
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3.5 stars

Thanks for Penguin Canada for an ARC of this book.

Interesting personal essays
From an Irish point of view
An alien in the USA
Maeve is a comedian
Those essays take about:

Her travels
Her fear of dolphins
Her Instagram addiction
Failed love
Obsession with Michael Fassbender
Dogs and pets
USA and trump
Complimenting women
Renting fancy dresses
Summer in NYC

Good shit I tell you
Maeve Higgin's collection of essays initially read like Bridget Jones comes to America, as she offers humorous self-deprecating anecdotes of her own immigration to New York City from Cobh, Ireland. Rent-a-dress, money woes, small talk and swimming and loathing with dolphins, get the Higgins treatment. But as we know, life is not all fun and comedy sketches, and Higgins' pieces on Dreamers, leaving home, mentoring and our place in the universe are thoughtful and poignant.

I was not familiar with M
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will confess that I had never heard of Maeve Higgins prior to writing this book. I am glad that I gave it a chance, though, because Higgins is hilarious and I'm looking forward to seeking out more of her work in whatever form it might take. She's self-deprecating in a charming way, very Irish, and extremely thoughtful - the essay about her attempts to make her podcast about immigrants into something comedic is frustrating (because you want to throttle her producers) and beautiful all at once. ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I was fortunate enough to win this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. My thanks to the sponsor and to Goodreads for facilitating this giveaway.

The series of essays in "Maeve in America" - penned by Irish comedian Maeve Higgins - was a bit difficult for me to synthesize into one main idea/takeaway. While some of the stories I definitely enjoyed and found humorous, others seemed to build to a crescendo that never materialized. I often found myself asking questions like, "so what?" and "why is this
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't relate to a lot in the collections of women's essays the publishing industry churns out these days--they are all too slang-y, too victim-y, too New Age-y, too bitter, too stupid or all of the above--but I loved this one. The author, an Irish comedian and podcaster who now lives in New York, does write about some of the same topics (body image, dating, and family among them) as other essayists, but her take on these topics is funny, original and intelligent. Of the constant battle she fig ...more
Donna Hines
Self care, self love, self appreciation and awareness. Throw in some humor. Throw in some soul searching while on a journey to who knows and well you got this one wrapped.
I loved everything about this. The writing was simplistic yet packed full of fun, love, excitement.
A collection of essays much like Coming to America in which this Irish gal is trying to make her way in NYC as a newly planted immigrant.
It's not all comedy show style though as the discussions center upon some serious aspects inc
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more, but it just didn’t happen. It was like being set up and told how much I’m going to like this person: they’re funny with that Irish sense of humor you love so, and charming, etc. We just didn’t click. Some of the essays were far too long, others felt more like a therapy session, and the tone was inconsistent ( odd given that it’s non fiction).

I saw the author speak and was intrigued despite it being a mediocre appearance. I chalked it up to a terrible interviewer.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this up while in NYC at the Strand because it was signed and I loved the review "If Tiny Fey and David Sedaris had a daughter..."

I was belly laughing by page 2, and really enjoyed laughing at the entire thing. Maeve is thoughtful and smart, and observes her experience being Irish in America.

Everyone needs to laugh. This is a particularly good way to get it done.
Douglas Rowe
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would be delighted to meet Maeve Higgins someday. She has learned some lovely and encouraging lessons about herself, life, love and family that take others much longer into their lives to learn if they ever learn them at all. Her stories are interesting, accessible and delightful with a real positive energy that makes this an uplifting read.
Sep 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I just couldn't get into these stories. I found a few interesting but some of the others just fell flat for me.
Annie Camp
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Maeve Higgins has a hilarious and wise podcast, and her Instagram is always creative and clever. However, I found this book to be a weak outline of who she is and what her ideals are. They are there, but they aren't great, and her little stories seem silly. This is definitely a personality I would recommend should be listened to live (or at least podcast live) as her lively humor doesn't come across well on the page.

I did enjoy reading more about growing up in Cobh Ireland, where so many Irish i
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Yes, Maeve is from "Somewhere Else" The mysterious wilds of a real country known as "Ireland". Maybe you heard of it? Or visited? Or are from there or your relatives are from there or you've ever attended a St. Patrick's Day Parade or been to an Irish pub, etc. In short, being from Ireland is not quite as exotic as the "Somewhere Else" would imply and book largely does not fulfill the implied promise of getting a novel understanding of America by seeing it through the eyes of a foreigner. Instea ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I originally shelved this on my “lolz” shelf. While there is a subtle humor throughout, it is much more thought provoking than bust a gut funny.

Maeve is best when she’s writing about the immigrant experience. I found those chapters to be heartbreakingly vital - all other chapters felt like insignificant fluff. I am saying this as an American; I WANT to hear about the immigrant experience. Granted, Maeve’s immigration is one of privilege and she points this out multiple times. However, she also
Shari Wampler
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Maeve in America by Maeve Higgins
240 pages

What’s it about?
This is a collection of essays written by Irish comedienne and memoirist Maeve Higgins. Ms. Higgins came to America in her early thirties. She writes about her experiences as a woman and an Irish immigrant living in New York City.

What did it make me think about?
These essays are often funny, always insightful, and occasionally preachy. They did make me look at the immigrant experience in a different way.

Should I read
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe I wasn’t in the right headspace for this book, and maybe I shouldn’t have tried to finish it while miserably hungover on a 3 hour hell-flight halfway across the country. But I had a hard time following some of the essays, which were full of ideas but didn’t always arrive home. I wish I had something more elegant to say. Sorry, Maeve.

I will say as a Kansas girl who just a week ago went to Kansas City’s Irish Fest, I had to reread those first few pages of “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” t
Griesgundel van Feldenfloeven
Nov 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was very disappointed by this book.

First of all - I didn't know the author at all when I started the book. I chose it because it was a nominee in the Goodreads Awards and downloaded the sample.

The thing is that I really enjoyed the sample, I thought it's well written and hilarious, so I bought the book. But when I read the rest of the book (I've read it till the end), I was extremly disappointed, because the first story was the only funny story in this apparently not so funny book. It was mos
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Had a hard time getting into this. It has a lot of good quips, but not a lot of good setup. Good politics, but it feels like the only relationships that really get explored here are with complete strangers or family (which borders on cruel), or exploring her desire for a long-term partner. Which is fine, but this is not the deep-empathy humor that really resonates with me personally. Maybe you need to be an extrovert to like it? So much of what she describes seems just so amazingly foreign (trav ...more
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays, memoir, nonfiction
Liked it, but didn't love it. Maeve Higgins is an Irish comedian and writer - I had heard her on a podcast, I can't remember which one, because I listen to too many podcasts! This collection of her writings focuses on her experience coming to the U.S. and experiencing this country as an immigrant (though one more privileged than many, as she points out in her writings). Although some of the stories I felt were just "ok", I really do like her - she seems like a great person, funny and sweet- and ...more
Mj Brodie
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a witty, well-written collection of essays on life as an immigrant here in the USA. I'm a fan of Maeve Higgins' podcast 'Maeve in America: Immigration IRL' and that was how I came to read this book. The essays are a mix of thoughtful reflections on what it means to leave family and friends and travel across the world, but also funny observations on daily life in New York and as a single woman figuring out her priorities and navigating a different culture.

I loved the stories about Maeve
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book did itself a disservice by being listed as humor and featuring blurbs about how hilarious it is. However, if you can let that go, you are in for a thoughtful treat.

I read the first few essays, and... I was seriously disappointed. I did not find them funny. I almost left it from there. However, I stuck with it, and ended up really appreciating her style and perspective. It is just not what I would classify as a funny book - there are lots of hard topics here - immigration, communication
David Fitzgerald
As an Irishman who lived in San Francisco for a couple of years, listening to Maeve in America felt like a chat with an (incredibly funny) friend where we bantered over the similarities of our experience. Well, more like me sitting back and letting that friend recount their experience (an experience which was assisted by the fact that I consumed this in audiobook format with Maeve's chatty tone being delivered straight to my ears). It ebbs between hilarious, vulnerable and insightful, full of ke ...more
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maeve Higgins is an absolute delight, and a wonderful writer. This was my final book of the summer, and I couldn't think of a more superb way to shut down summer reading and transition to back-to-work reading than by reading the incredible entwining of voice, brilliant observations, and heart in these essays. I'm not an audiobook person at all, but I'd love to hear Maeve Higgins read these stories aloud. She's inviting and incisive and able to tap into the most human of experiences in a way that ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, funny, memoir
I loved this book. It's a gift to be able to see our culture from the visitors's perspective, and to have its flaws and beauty both delivered in a humorous package created by an Irish comedian. The humor was not excessive though, and very salient points were made esp. on the topic of immigration. On a lighter note, also appreciated the authors take on summer.

Bonus points for referencing two of my favorite books of all time: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and The Little Red Hen (a chi
Christa Van
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had not heard of Maeve Higgins before listening to her book but now I love her. I could listen to her read all day, she has the perfect accent. Also, her essays are hilarious and she is thoughtful while being funny. Maeve does comedy and so amazingly charming that you want to agree with everything she has to say. Her podcast about immigration was canceled because it was supposed to be funny but always turned out quite serious is a cautionary tale. Her dog borrowing makes a lot of sense for peo ...more
Stephanie Moore
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew Daugherty
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
So, for those of you who remember the song “Kids in America” by Len on the Digimon soundtrack now sing Maeve in America! You’re welcome.
Now on to the review. Why 3 stars? I would rather give it 3 1/2 but that is not an option. The good points: It’s a good read! Easy page turner with amusing tales but a nice dose of reality, philosophy, and some straight up thunking! Yes, I used a made word thunking. It has a lot of insights from someone who didn’t grow up in what we(Americans) call normal. If yo
Jennifer Healy
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted like this more. I loved her essay on using Rent the Runway. Her essays on immigration were wonderful. The rest of the book just reminded me of how different I am, at 44, from Millenials. I felt she went on a little too long about herself, and I found myself skimming some parts because it got a little redundant. I love Instagram, too, but I don’t need to read an essay about someone else’s reasons for using it. She’s a good writer and she is funny, it just felt like there weren’t enough s ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very different read, but worth it! Maeve Higgins writes a series of essays that are both thought provoking and poignant, inserting bits of her humor here and there.

I highly recommend her book as it will leave you thinking about subjects you encounter with a new perspective - some interjected with her lovely humor, some from the viewpoint of an immigrant, some from the viewpoint of a woman, but mostly from the viewpoint of a person just like you making their way through life, which is
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I recently learned about the activist and comedian Maeve Higgins from the How to be Amazing podcast with Michael Ian Black. She came off as compassionate, thoughtful, funny, and for lack of a better word, woke. I decided to check out her recent book from the library and am glad I did. Her essays are much like her. I lol’d several times while reading this, and I don’t often do that. However, there were some essays that seemed more like filler, such as one about her experience using Rent the Runwa ...more
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“I want him to be funny but also stable, maybe like a successful ophthalmologist who crosses his own eyes when he tells you to follow his pen.” 0 likes
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