Kirkus Review of Normal’s Just a Cycle on a Washing Machine

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Kirkus Review of Normal’s Just a Cycle on a Washing Machine


A housewife and mother in a Dallas suburb chronicles various changes in her life in this compilation of humor pieces.

Bourland, a Dallas-based writer and NPR broadcaster who mines humor and wit from the ups and downs of everyday living, offers a collection of her essays and columns in this debut. She divides the book into different laundry-themed sections, and in the first part, “Pre-Soak,” she introduces her surgeon husband, her two sons and daughter, and the family dog. In the second, “Normal,” readers will settle into her household’s routine and laugh at observations such as, “There is some sort of cosmic joke that at the exact point at which communication with a teen is at its lowest, the states decree you can sit in a vehicle in a city with horrendous traffic and ‘teach’ your kid to drive.” However, by the third section, “Spin Cycle,” Bourland writes that her husband had an affair that results in divorce, and she must reinvent herself, her family, and her column as a single woman in midlife.

… as Bourland perseveres through hardships and maintains her sense of humor throughout these essays, she remains emotionally accessible to readers, who may recognize themselves in her. In the end, the “ordinary” nature of the author’s story is its greatest asset.

A memoiristic collection that shines with quiet strength.

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