A monthly book review: “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered”

This month’s book review is something that I was into (a podcast) before the accident and now after the accident I haven’t been able to enjoy it but now that it’s a book, I can! I used to listen to “My Favorite Murder” (it’s a true crime comedy podcast) before the accident. Now that my hearing is greatly affected to the point that I can’t hear music and don’t listen to anything like podcasts, radio, etc. I have stopped following “My Favorite Murder.” So I was pretty excited when I found out about this book since it’s a way for me to enjoy Karen and Georgia without the podcast. The book I’m discussing this month is “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered” by the hosts of the “My Favorite Murder” podcast Karen Kilgarif and Georgia Hardstark.

As fans of the podcast know, there are a lot of terms and acronyms associated with the podcast that I will familiarize you with in this review. The first and most important: Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered (SSDGM, which is self explanatory). Truthfully, I’m still reading the book (full disclaimer) because I’m really savoring it since I’ve been without the podcast (and therefore “PARCHED” for this particular “kool-aid”, as Karen might say). So as that statement probably fully revealed “I’m a fan” and therefore this isn’t really a review. It’s a glowing and excited recommendation.

I will say, please, please, PLEASE, don’t be put off by the title of the book or podcast or the tone that is implied with both. Yes, it’s a “comedy” podcast and a humorous book by two very funny women but the podcast, the book and Karen & Georgia don’t take the very serious and oftentimes scary and sad topic of murder and violence lightly. I can’t stress that enough. If there’s one take away you get from this blog post let it be that. The book and podcast are done with respect for the victims of murder and violence discussed in both pieces. I gravitated towards the podcast and now the book because I could sense they were done with respect and intelligence. And research! As a trained librarian (however currently not employed as such), I love the heck out of research when it’s done well. Tell me a true, well-researched story and I’m a happy camper.

As a fan of the podcast, I really enjoy how they structured the book. They took sound bites from the podcast like “F**k Politeness” (yes, there’s swearing), “You’re In a Cult. Call your Dad,” and each Kilgariff and Hardstark write a section related to it. Even if you haven’t listened to the podcast these sound bites have been well chosen to display the podcast hosts and authors unique and charming voices.

For example, “F**k Politeness” is the perfect section to start the book and sum up a major takeaway from both the book and the podcast. The point of saying “f**k politeness” is not to encourage people to be rude. The point of it is: being “polite” and ignoring your instincts and red flags in service of politeness can leave you vulnerable to people with bad intentions (i.e. serial killers or other nefarious people). There’s a reason infamous serial killer Ted Bundy used to fake injuries or disability or broken down cars in order to get close enough to attack his victims. The reason? Politeness! A polite woman would offer to help. And therefore make herself vulnerable to Bundy. After finding out about a few of those true crime stories by listening to the podcast and later reading Ann Rule’s biography of Bundy “The Stranger Beside Me” I was walking a little faster saying “f**k politeness” to myself when I walked anywhere alone.

And that brings me to a point that I’m sure my Mom thought about when I told her about “My Favorite Murder”: NO, learning about all this true crime isn’t making me scared in an unhealthy way. Georgia Hardstark even addresses such a thing by discussing her anxiety issues and saying that making a career out of discussing true crime and murder doesn’t worsen her anxiety. She writes that it helps her to know that, after a childhood of being the “weird kid” with different interests, she has now found a lot of people with similar interests.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I haven’t finished the book entirely yet (I’m about halfway). But that’s only because I’m perhaps reading a little slower than I normally would because I’m so excited to have Karen’s and Georgia’s voices rattling around in my head again. My situation is unique and since I am basically non-hearing (I hear some sounds but they’re heavily distorted) my ability to listen to Karen and Georgia has been taken away from me. On that somewhat of a bummer note (that wasn’t my intention) I do want to link to the fabulous transcripts I’ve found of the podcast. Fans of the podcast voluntarily transcribe the podcasts and have them available for those like me who need them.

Well, back to reading. I can see myself finishing it very soon. Even if I savor it.

Memoir Writing Update

I haven’t really written more lately (I’m still around 37,000 words). No excuses here. Just hasn’t happened lately. However, reading books like “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered” help inspire me to continue and finish.

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