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My best book of the year

Cover of Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murd
A review of Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

I can't imagine any book topping this one for me in 2019. The snappy and shocking title is one of the reasons I love it so much. It's funny, smart, and helpful in a cuddly way, despite the whopper of a title. The authors Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are the true crime comedy podcast stars of My Favorite Murder and their podcast provides background for the book. True crime is what brought Karen and Georgia together and how and why they have a fabulous book deal.

Mostly, though, the book is a how-to guide to surviving as a human. Karen and Georgia share life lessons like don't be a lunatic, get a job, buy your own stuff, if you're in a cult call your dad (or whoever your "one call" person is), and stay out of the woods. It's all very jokey and nonjudgmental. They candidly discuss eating disorders, bad relationships, alcohol and drug addiction, and the importance of valuing yourself over being helpful or nice. This was difficult for me to embrace as a librarian and a mom but I've come around. It's okay to be helpful or nice but not at the expense of valuing yourself. This results in advice to not give Ted Bundy a ride in your car, but it also applies to following your gut instincts. All relatable, useful life tips, as if shared by your closest friends.

One of the best things about this book and podcast is that it brings greater recognition to true crime as a genre. I have a loyal past with true crime and Ann Rule in particular, so all of this is right up my alley. Plus, Wisconsin has more than its fair share of high profile murderers. My Favorite Murder Live has been to Milwaukee and Madison several times in the last few years, producing Episode 177 featuring Bambi Bembenek and the murder of Barbara Kendhammer and Episode 181 covering Ed Gein and David Spanbauer. My own fascination with Wisconsin weirdos began at an inappropriately young age during a holiday gathering when an older cousin was passing around Edward Gein: America's Most Bizarre Murderer. Someone started reading passages aloud and you can imagine the excitement that ensued. 

True crime aside, the value of Stay Sexy is in creating open, honest dialogue about whatever it is that helps you on your journey and I applaud that.

July 31, 2019