I should begin by saying, I’m a sucker for weird. Weird food. Weird art. Weird newspaper stories about 37-pound cats that people line up to adopt from the local Humane Society. So when I heard about “Little Weirds,” a book by actress and comedian Jenny Slate, I thought, “Wait a second . . . ‘Weird’ as a noun? I’m here for it.”
Slate, who is perhaps best known for voicing animated characters in films like “Zootopia” and “The Secret Life of Pets,” and for her short-lived stint on “Saturday Night Live” and her charming appearances on late-night talk shows, compiled this collection of mental meanderings, which is hard to categorize but fun to read. Topics range from strange dreams to sardine sandwiches, ghost pirates to online dating profiles. You don’t need to read them in order. This is one of those books, in fact, that you can dip in and out of whenever the mood strikes – like poetry, or a container of really delicious cheese dip.
Slate writes about the pleasure of drinking beer alone in an airport, and how she prefers that to a glass of white wine, which would make her feel (quote) “very divorced.” She writes about her old house and her old dog, her fear of horses and her love of fruit hats. She offers a list of “important questions,” which includes: “Who is more chatty, a squirrel or a seagull?” These are the haphazard thoughts of a thirty-something celebrity, sure. But there’s a poetic quality to these micro-essays that inspires you to pay closer attention to the ordinary moments in life.
“I saw a little boy put his puppy on a skateboard and say, ‘Patrick, sit?’” Slate writes. She dissects that sweet episode – the dog named Patrick, the wobbly skateboard, the boy uncomfortable with giving a command. It’s a random moment, one that likely would have gone unnoticed or unremembered. But Slate lived it, jotted it down and wrote a book to share it with the world. That’s a little weird – and wonderful.