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I Didn't Ask To Be Born    by Bill Cosby order for
I Didn't Ask To Be Born
by Bill Cosby
Order:  USA  Can
Center Street, 2012 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

There's no one like Bill Cosby, not only for thinking outside the box, but also for examining that box from all angles. He does it again in I Didn't Ask To Be Born. His eighteen anecdotes range from childhood memories to observations of Cosby's own children and grandchildren, and are filled with wry wisdom. George Booth's black and white sketches underline the humor.

In Me and Marcia, Bill Cosby presents his 'most perfect moment as a television talk show host' and it's a gem. Bernadette is about the one who got away and why. The Morphamization of Peanut Armhouse is sort of a ghost story and reminiscent of the comedian's earliest works. And I loved Cosby's analysis of The Missing Pages in the bible and his comments on women's 'Eve DNA'!

As a fan of old John Ford Westerns, I also appreciated If Only Native Americans Knew Then What They Know Now, all about the challenges of circling wagons, the history of scalping, and how the bloodshed could have been avoided by an earlier introduction of casinos! And all parents take note - in the titular I Didn't Ask To Be Born piece, Cosby gives us the perfect response to that teen plaint.

As a martial arts student myself, I chuckled over Raise Your Tail!, in which Cosby comments on his grandson's performance kicking and punching the air: 'His opponent is invisible so I assume tai chi means "to beat up an invisible person."' That piece then moves on to Godzilla. In Cabbage Patch, he addresses parental mob behavior after the I want epidemic broke out.

I remember listening to records of Cosby's storytelling as a fascinated child. Though I liked reading I Didn't Ask To Be Born: (But I'm Glad I Was) very much, I am convinced that I would have enjoyed it even more in his own voice. And I'm very glad he was born too.

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