There’s a Squirrel in My Toilet Review
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Every morning, Rebecca Cooper gets up early and takes her blind dog for a walk through their urban beach of a neighborhood. When she gets back from her daily adventure, she gets her husband and kids on their way—then she makes herself a cup of cloudy coffee and sits down at her computer to write about all the things she observes.

From the title—as well as blurb on the book’s cover—you might be under the impression that There’s a Squirrel in My Toilet is a collection of humorous essays. I know I was. But the title and the description are actually quite deceptive. From the first few essays—about everything from basketball to child molesters—it becomes pretty clear that this isn’t just a book of laughs. Sure, there are a few laughs from time to time, but they’re sometimes few and far between. Instead, this is mostly a book of personal essays and observations.

  
 
Possibly the most unusual thing about the essays in There’s a Squirrel in My Toilet is their format—which is really not much of a format at all. Mostly, they’re written in stream-of-consciousness style, wandering from thought to thought with little or no punctuation, in a semi-poetic format with haphazard line breaks. As you read, you’ll feel like you’re sneaking a peek at Cooper’s diary—and that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, the essays are honest and sometimes even insightful. Though Cooper sometimes tries to be a bit too deep, resulting in metaphors that don’t make much sense, there are also a few gems to be found—some well-worded descriptions that will make you stop and take notice. But, after awhile, her observations become rather repetitive—touching on the same topics and using the same descriptions.

Unfortunately, the choppy format and Cooper’s tendency to ramble distract from the insights and observations. It’s not really poetry, and it’s not really prose—and it makes your eyes (and your brain) work much harder than necessary. The essays also meander quite a bit, losing track of the points that Cooper had been trying to make when she first set out.

Though Cooper does make some interesting observations—and she sometimes paints some poetic images—There’s a Squirrel in My Toilet is a challenge to read. It’s repetitive and random, and it could have benefited from some rewrites and an editor’s red pen. The grammar is sometimes perplexing, and some of the sentences go on for most of a page. Had Cooper edited her work—and selected maybe 150 pages of original essays to present in normal prose format—this could have been a thoughtful collection worth reading. But, as it is, this 400-page collection is virtually impossible to finish.

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