Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: "Cool, Calm and Contentious" by Merrill Markoe

I have a belief about books made up of collections of essays--all the essays need to be connected by some sort of unifying theme or all the essays have to be completely unrelated to each other.  Cool, Calm and Contentious is an example of a book somewhere in the middle of that.

And it just goes to prove my point.

I remember reading one of Merrill Markoe's earlier works, although I can't remember which one or what it was about (that should have told me something).  When I saw her on The Colbert Report promoting this book, I thought I would give it a try.

Here's the thing--I think this book was supposed to be about something, but I don't know what.  She starts with essays about her mother and narcissists.  Probably the best essay in this book is the one where she defines someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how to spot them.  It's probably the best article I've read on the topic for non-mental health professionals.  Then she starts talking about her dogs.  Then an ex-boyfriend named Bobby (remember this post?).  There is a very disturbing essay about her second and third sexual partners, followed by a rafting story and then a bizarre-badly written about how celebrities are turning to crime.

There are high points in this book--I think she does her best writing when talking about her mother--but there are far more low points than high, unfortunately.

All I can say is that Mr. Colbert misled me on this one...

Affiliate Link: Purchase this book at

I purchased this book.  I was not solicited for this review and I did not receive any compensation.


  1. If you like books with short stories that are connected, you should read Olive Kitteridge. AHmazing.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation...I added it to my wishlist!

  2. it does sound interesting though..stories about all kinds of things!