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For fans of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and Lets Pretend This Never Happened, comedian and Emmy Awardwinning writer Sara Schaefers hilariously honest memoir follows Saras trip through the Grand Canyon with her sister that causes her to reflect on her childhood and the scandal that changed her family forever. When Sara Schaefer is in first grade, her father warns her For fans of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, comedian and Emmy Award–winning writer Sara Schaefer’s hilariously honest memoir follows Sara’s trip through the Grand Canyon with her sister that causes her to reflect on her childhood and the scandal that changed her family forever. When Sara Schaefer is in first grade, her father warns her to always tell the truth because one lie leads to another and soon you will find yourself in a hole you can’t escape. A few years later, the Schaefer family is completely upended when it’s revealed that their grand life is based on a lie. Her parents become pariahs in their upper middle class community and go from non-religious people to devout church members. The idea of good and evil as binary, opposed forces is drilled into Sara and it becomes the perfect framework on which to build her anxiety and increasingly-obsessive thoughts. The year she turns forty, Sara decides to take each member of her family on a one-on-one vacation culminating with a whitewater rafting journey through the Grand Canyon with her younger sister. The only problem is she’s terrified of rafting. Along the way, she grapples with unresolved grief over the death of her mother and the family scandal that changed the trajectory of her life. Heartfelt, candid, and witty, Grand is a story about family, identity, and struggling to make something of yourself. Sara deconstructs her struggles with anxiety and depression, what it means to be a good person, and the radically discordant stories we tell ourselves and share with the world.


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For fans of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and Lets Pretend This Never Happened, comedian and Emmy Awardwinning writer Sara Schaefers hilariously honest memoir follows Saras trip through the Grand Canyon with her sister that causes her to reflect on her childhood and the scandal that changed her family forever. When Sara Schaefer is in first grade, her father warns her For fans of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, comedian and Emmy Award–winning writer Sara Schaefer’s hilariously honest memoir follows Sara’s trip through the Grand Canyon with her sister that causes her to reflect on her childhood and the scandal that changed her family forever. When Sara Schaefer is in first grade, her father warns her to always tell the truth because one lie leads to another and soon you will find yourself in a hole you can’t escape. A few years later, the Schaefer family is completely upended when it’s revealed that their grand life is based on a lie. Her parents become pariahs in their upper middle class community and go from non-religious people to devout church members. The idea of good and evil as binary, opposed forces is drilled into Sara and it becomes the perfect framework on which to build her anxiety and increasingly-obsessive thoughts. The year she turns forty, Sara decides to take each member of her family on a one-on-one vacation culminating with a whitewater rafting journey through the Grand Canyon with her younger sister. The only problem is she’s terrified of rafting. Along the way, she grapples with unresolved grief over the death of her mother and the family scandal that changed the trajectory of her life. Heartfelt, candid, and witty, Grand is a story about family, identity, and struggling to make something of yourself. Sara deconstructs her struggles with anxiety and depression, what it means to be a good person, and the radically discordant stories we tell ourselves and share with the world.

30 review for Grand: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    Sara Schaefer looks anxious. If you've ever seen stand-up comedian and writer Sara Schaefer, it's hard to deny that she carries the aura of someone who has lived a little, laughed a little, loved a little, and worries about it all. Schaefer is also funny - really, really funny. "Grand: A Memoir," scheduled for release by Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster on August 11th, captures both sides of Schaefer and much more in a self-penned journey through the Emmy Award-winning writer's past and Sara Schaefer looks anxious. If you've ever seen stand-up comedian and writer Sara Schaefer, it's hard to deny that she carries the aura of someone who has lived a little, laughed a little, loved a little, and worries about it all. Schaefer is also funny - really, really funny. "Grand: A Memoir," scheduled for release by Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster on August 11th, captures both sides of Schaefer and much more in a self-penned journey through the Emmy Award-winning writer's past and present beginning with a childhood that included a scandal that changed the family forever and ultimately culminating in Schaefer's 40th birthday celebration whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River with her younger sister, Ross. "Grand" is at its best when Schaefer is exploring the rawness of her life's extremes, whether that be the often poignant yet hilarious challenges of camping with a group of wildly different strangers or the complicated grief over her mother's death that seems to finally bubble up to the surface during Schaefer's way out of her comfort zone trip with her sister. Schaefer isn't hesitant to delve into the darkness of her father's financial scandal, a scandal that cost him a career, the family a grander life, and seemed to detour the entire family's life away from their previous secularism into a committed religious life. She's also not hesitant to talk about her rise to fame as a popular writer/comedian/podcaster and how that fame fueled the flames of an already disintegrating marriage and her own choices that turned an inevitable but likely amicable divorce into a more complicated, highly conflicted one. Schaefer shares it all. She shares it with heart and humor and honesty and even a few tears. She shares what it's like to experience sexism in the workplace, sexual harassment pretty much everywhere, and rough sex that probably crossed the line. It was in first grade that Sara told what she believed to be an innocent lie. Of course, the lie was discovered and led to the first of many "dad-isms" over the years, advice that one lie leads to another and soon you find yourself in a hole from which you can't escape. First grade Sara didn't realize how true her father's words were until years later when his own lie, an at first seemingly innocent effort to maintain the family's rather grand Midlothian, Virginia lifestyle, would come crashing down. Yet, in many ways the truth did set Sara's family free and this is a lesson that has seemingly never been lost on Sara. For the remainder of Sara's childhood, a former upper-middle class lifestyle became more of a working class one with father Billy, mother Billie, and siblings Sara, Ross, Jay, and Cristy immersing themselves in their faith and in serving others. While "Grand" laughs at many of those dad-isms, it's equally true that Sara has come to embrace them over the years even as her family's abrupt transformation seemed to trigger her own obsessive, anxious personality. By the time Sara reaches 40, she's won two Emmy Awards for her work as Head Blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and acquired a variety of accolades from being named one of USA Today's "100 People of the Year in Pop Culture" to being cited by New York Magazine as "One of the Ten New Comedians that Funny People Find Funny." Yet, it's obvious from the pages of "Grand: A Memoir" that Schaefer, whom I can't seem to decide if I want to call Sara or Schaefer, remained unresolved about her life, her loves, her family, and the anxiety/depression that seems to have been a consistent if not entirely constant companion that grew in intensity following the death of her mother. So, it's that 40th year that is at the heart and soul of "Grand," a 40th year that finds Schaefer taking a 1:1 trip with each of her family members up to and culminating in this wildly adventurous trip through the Grand Canyon with her sister, her guides, several other interesting characters, and more than a few animals along the way. The stories that unfold are filled with Schaefer's brand of enthusiastic and honest humor grounded in real life, though she infuses that humor with vulnerability and honesty and a rawness that comes alive because she paints the truthfulness of her relationships and her own human foibles so completely. At times, you can't help but laugh with her. You also, at times, can't help but laugh at her. You'll cry a little bit, want to protect her more than a little bit, but mostly you'll find that "Grand" simply showcases the humanity and life experiences that helped turn her into one of America's brightest and most gifted stand-up comics and comedy writers. Sara's relationship with her mother is, perhaps, one of the most amazing parts of "Grand" because it captures so beautifully the weird and wonderful relationship between mother and daughter. Billie, who loved the middle-upper class existence she enjoyed with her family in Midlothian, embraced her working class existence and, in fact, would eventually start the non-profit Pennies From Heaven, Inc., a non-profit devoted to serving those even less fortunate. There are moments in "Grand" when you can't help but mumble to yourself "I want that mom!" and, indeed, Sara seems wonderfully in touch with the good, the bad, the challenging, and the pretty amazing parts of growing up with her quirky yet lovable tribe. "Grand" is at its best when it feels spontaneous and alive in the moment. There are other moments in "Grand" that feel overly processed, as if Schaefer perhaps spent just a little too much time finding the perfect wording or searching for the punchline in a story that didn't necessarily need one. In these moments, "Grand" feels just a bit flat and lacks the spark that much of the book, and easily the majority of the book, carries. These are minor concerns, really, for what is, without a grand memoir centered on a grand journey that brought Schaefer closer to her sister and seems to have opened up parts of her that continue to fuel her continued growth in the comedy world. Humorous and heartfelt, honest and often emotionally exhilarating, "Grand: A Memoir" is a wonderful story about self-talk and self-identity, the stories that made us and the stories that we grow into in our lives. It's a memoir you will most assuredly remember.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marian

    I liked this book. When comedian Sara Schaefer turns 40, she plans a one-on-one trip with each member of her family. Grand details her trip with younger sister Ross as they embark on an adventurous trek navigating the Grand Canyon's rapids. Schaefer skillfully takes the reader through her anxiety-filled trip, but she alternates these "Grand" chapters with those dealing with her growing up years all the way to adulthood. I found this juxtaposition of present/past chapters engaging and insightful. I liked this book. When comedian Sara Schaefer turns 40, she plans a one-on-one trip with each member of her family. Grand details her trip with younger sister Ross as they embark on an adventurous trek navigating the Grand Canyon's rapids. Schaefer skillfully takes the reader through her anxiety-filled trip, but she alternates these "Grand" chapters with those dealing with her growing up years all the way to adulthood. I found this juxtaposition of present/past chapters engaging and insightful. By reading about Schaefer's past, you got a better sense of who she is today. While I found the "Grand" chapters interesting (and Schaefer certainly comes away from that trip a more insightful person), it was the chapters focusing on the past (childhood through her 30s) that I found the most interesting. Schaefer's voice is candid, heartfelt, and, at times, brutally honest. And since she is a comedian by profession, she definitely includes some laugh out loud moments. This is a quick and engaging read. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) in exchange for my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    She seems lovely and I am sure her comedy is good, but there just was not enough material--either emotional or comedic or plot-like, to make a memoir. The stories of her childhood were interesting, but I don't think she went deep enough into some of the events. And the white water rafting trip is just not a great narrative hook though surely it is ripe with symbolism (though perhaps too ripe?)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I was given an ARC (my first!) of this book in exchange for an honest review! "Grand" by Sara Schaefer (a stand up comic, and TV writer and blogger) takes the reader on an honest, sad, uplifting and funny trip down the Grand Canyon and throughout her life. Schaefer and her sister decide to reconnect by signing up for a guided trip through the Grand Canyon. As she faces her fears of wild animals, new people and white water rapids, she also reconciles events from her past, including the death of I was given an ARC (my first!) of this book in exchange for an honest review! "Grand" by Sara Schaefer (a stand up comic, and TV writer and blogger) takes the reader on an honest, sad, uplifting and funny trip down the Grand Canyon and throughout her life. Schaefer and her sister decide to reconnect by signing up for a guided trip through the Grand Canyon. As she faces her fears of wild animals, new people and white water rapids, she also reconciles events from her past, including the death of her mother (which could be a TW for some) and the scandal which changed her life as a child. Schaefer grew up believing in Jesus, trying to always do the right thing, and suffering from anxiety as she tried to manage the realities of life and continuing to be the "good" vs "normal" girl. I enjoyed Schaefer's honesty, her humor, and the cultural references to growing up in the '80s and '90s. I loved reading about a close family who survived hard times and continued to support and love each other. The chapters alternated between the Grand Canyon trip and the events of Sara Schaefer's life which made the book fun to read. If you enjoy memoirs with cultural references and humor I recommend this book. You do not have to have followed Sara Schaefer's career in order to enjoy it! (There are some sexual references and crude language which could be offensive to some.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    As someone who loves an adrenaline-pumping adventure, I enjoyed reading Sara's experience traveling down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Many of her character descriptions and boating scenes cracked me up. She's extremely talented at writing humor. I also appreciated her ability to transition seamlessly through a broad spectrum of emotions. One minute, I was laughing as I read about the drama of camping with a large group of strangers. The next moment, I was crying as I read about As someone who loves an adrenaline-pumping adventure, I enjoyed reading Sara's experience traveling down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Many of her character descriptions and boating scenes cracked me up. She's extremely talented at writing humor. I also appreciated her ability to transition seamlessly through a broad spectrum of emotions. One minute, I was laughing as I read about the drama of camping with a large group of strangers. The next moment, I was crying as I read about Sara's mom dying. Sara dives into the raw, painful moments: her dad's financial scandal, her mom's cancer, her own divorce, her experience of sexism in the workplace, and her struggle to find her identity in the professional comedy industry. My one critique of this book is that a few portions of Sara's inner dialogue seemed too edited and forced. I kept feeling skeptical that she had some of those exact thoughts in the moment; they felt like polished musings she wrote in afterward. I wanted to see her character wrestle with messier, unfiltered thoughts for a while before finding cohesive meaning in her experiences. Overall, it was a fascinating memoir that made me feel a broad spectrum of emotions and satisfied my desire for a literary adventure. I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Fink

    Received arc in a giveaway! I loved this book. It was so much more than just a regular old story about a trip through the Grand Canyon. This book holds emotions, lessons, and accounts that will touch the reader. At certain points I laughed and at others I cried. I felt connected to the author. She told her story in a way that made it as if she were talking to a friend. This is a book that you just can't put down. You want to see what will happen next. How will the author overcome her next battle? Received arc in a giveaway! I loved this book. It was so much more than just a regular old story about a trip through the Grand Canyon. This book holds emotions, lessons, and accounts that will touch the reader. At certain points I laughed and at others I cried. I felt connected to the author. She told her story in a way that made it as if she were talking to a friend. This is a book that you just can't put down. You want to see what will happen next. How will the author overcome her next battle? This book held trials that many people, myself included, can relate in some way to. The format of this book was an excellent choice. I loved the back and forth between the author's journey through the Canyon and her metaphoric journey through life. Going every other chapter between one of the time lines made it easy to follow. We always knew when in time we were, which is good to have in a memoir. The author made every aspect of this book well balanced. Whether it was pacing, being plot focused, being character focused, opinions, fact, emotions, connection, etc; we got it all. I would recommend this to everyone I come in contact with if I could.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Van

    Set within the framework of a life changing 40th birthday rafting holiday with her sister through the Grand Canyon, comedian and Emmy awardwinning writer Sara Schaefers looks back on her childhood. Growing up in a wealthy, suburban family of four kids, a lawyer dad and a stay home mom, Sara's life suddenly changes in when her father confesses to misappropriating client funds. Disbarred, her father takes a menial job and the family moves to a smaller home and turn to their Baptist faith for Set within the framework of a life changing 40th birthday rafting holiday with her sister through the Grand Canyon, comedian and Emmy award–winning writer Sara Schaefer’s looks back on her childhood. Growing up in a wealthy, suburban family of four kids, a lawyer dad and a stay home mom, Sara's life suddenly changes in when her father confesses to misappropriating client funds. Disbarred, her father takes a menial job and the family moves to a smaller home and turn to their Baptist faith for support. Sara becomes obsessed with the idea of good and evil and struggles with anxiety and depression, grief - and laughter. Well written and amusing, this book takes a look at the issues of losses of various kinds and their impact on Sara's life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    Sara tells about her exciting rafting trip down the Colorado River, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. She interspersed growing up in the "Good " part of town with her family. Her father told her to never tell a lie...it will only lead to another lie and soon you cannot dig yourself out of the hole. Her father did, what he told his daughter not to do. What Sara had known; all had to change. Loss of a job for her father, down-sized home, this all led to her feeling of anxiety. Sara was afraid of the Sara tells about her exciting rafting trip down the Colorado River, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. She interspersed growing up in the "Good " part of town with her family. Her father told her to never tell a lie...it will only lead to another lie and soon you cannot dig yourself out of the hole. Her father did, what he told his daughter not to do. What Sara had known; all had to change. Loss of a job for her father, down-sized home, this all led to her feeling of anxiety. Sara was afraid of the rafting trip down the Colorado River, but she made it while keeping her humor and identity. I won this book from Goodreads First reads. Thanks Good reads. I loved this book!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Sisney

    This was a good book to read to provide a break from the anti-racism and anti-Trump books that Ive been reading (and will continue to read) for months. It helped me get in touch with my sense of humor, compassion, and empathy. My one problem was with the as inevitable as racism and Donald Trump METOO moment. Schaefers METOO moment is more nuanced than those of too many women writing after 2017. Before the movement, she had joked about an incident that happened during a reckless one night stand, This was a good book to read to provide a break from the anti-racism and anti-Trump books that I’ve been reading (and will continue to read) for months. It helped me get in touch with my sense of humor, compassion, and empathy. My one problem was with the as inevitable as racism and Donald Trump METOO moment. Schaefer’s METOO moment is more nuanced than those of too many women writing after 2017. Before the movement, she had joked about an incident that happened during a reckless one night stand, claiming she had asked for it. After METOO began, she stopped joking about that too close encounter with a creep moment but still generally believes what happened was her fault. What bothers me most about the book is that not long after describing that incident Schaefer casually jokes that men are seen as monsters when they’ve raped 700 women while women can do something minor and be seen as monsters. Really? Tell that to Brock Turner and Bill Cosby, who pawed a blacked out drunk woman and a woman who voluntarily took three pills from a man who was never a doctor, went to jail (Bill is still there), and have been demonized as rapists when they didn’t rape anyone. Tell it to Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley, and many other once powerful men who have lost their jobs for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior. Tell it to former Senator Al Franken. She can’t tell it to the late John Conyers because he’s dead, but before that Civil Rights icon died, the sometimes dirty, go low when attacking each other Democrats used the METOO movement to run him out of Congress because he was too senile at 88 to chair the Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile Trump, who bragged about sexual assault on tape and was accused of rape by at least two white women, one of them his first wife and mother of three of his children, is in the White House destroying our democracy. Clearly, I can’t escape Trump, even when I read a book where I’m fairly certain he was not mentioned.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin Hart

    Funny, touching, and honest. A great summer read. Ive been down the Grand Canyon an know the canyon really does change you. I am also a child of the 80s and there were so many moments of delight in the recognition of childhood moments I thought were so specific to me. Its incredibly well written and the story flows like the river with twists and turns and spits you out the other side a bit different than you are before. Definitely recommend! Funny, touching, and honest. A great summer read. I’ve been down the Grand Canyon an know the canyon really does change you. I am also a child of the 80s and there were so many moments of delight in the recognition of childhood moments I thought were so specific to me. It’s incredibly well written and the story flows like the river with twists and turns and spits you out the other side a bit different than you are before. Definitely recommend!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joel Devore

    This book was great. It had me laughing out lot on many occasions and sharing the humorous lines with my wife sitting next to me. But more importantly it is a very human story about loving yourself and those around you and doing your best ever when it is difficult. Sara writes poignantly about relationships and makes me want to strengthen the relationships that I have.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    I am not familiar with Sara as a comedian but will be looking her up after reading this book. When Sara turns 40 she decides to make memories with each of her family on special adventures. Most of the book focuses on her trip whitewater rafting for a week with her sister Ross. Growing and trying new things like jumping from a cliff and sleeping outside. Other stories of growing up and how the family survived tragedy and mistakes made that were admitted and slowly fixed/healed. We all have our I am not familiar with Sara as a comedian but will be looking her up after reading this book. When Sara turns 40 she decides to make memories with each of her family on special adventures. Most of the book focuses on her trip whitewater rafting for a week with her sister Ross. Growing and trying new things like jumping from a cliff and sleeping outside. Other stories of growing up and how the family survived tragedy and mistakes made that were admitted and slowly fixed/healed. We all have our journey to travel and this book is honest and funny. I won this book in a goodreads giveaway thank you!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Davina

    A memoir about self-discovery and healing that was actually as funny as it was earnest.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    The trouble with this book is that she didn't have enough material for a memoir. I got to the end and said, "That's it?!?" I kept waiting for the aha moment either in the flashbacks to her childhood or even on the rafting trip. The last chapter felt very forced and cheesy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kayo

    Loved this memoir. Liked hearing about her childhood, and then in the more recent years with her family. Funny and very entertaining. Thanks to Goodreads for the win of this book. While I got the book for free, it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    A fun memoir doused in river water, perfect for a scorching summer day.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adele

    Received an ARC from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. I had never heard of Sara Schaefer before reading this memoir, however her story was still an interesting one and worth reading. Chapters about Sara's childhood and family life are alternated with chapters about her Grand Canyon rafting expedition with her sister-- an effective writing method to take the reader through the two journeys. I enjoyed the honesty and insights the writer provided, and there were several "ah ha" moments to Received an ARC from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. I had never heard of Sara Schaefer before reading this memoir, however her story was still an interesting one and worth reading. Chapters about Sara's childhood and family life are alternated with chapters about her Grand Canyon rafting expedition with her sister-- an effective writing method to take the reader through the two journeys. I enjoyed the honesty and insights the writer provided, and there were several "ah ha" moments to takeaway and reflect on. This was a very short book, however, and the part that didn't work well for me was the depth and detail...in under 300 pages the reader was taken through family scandal, childhood, marriage/divorce, a cross country move and career changes-- not to mention the rafting expedition that was the subject of half the book. Some very significant life events were over as fast as going through the rapids! A slower ride with deeper reflection would have made a more powerful impact and a more complete story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced copy! I had heard of Sara from the Nikki and Sara show on MTV, though I did not know much about her. After reading this memoir, I want to know more! Loved the style of this book, jumping back and forth from her past and a current grand canyon river rafting trip. Though Sara is a comic and seems so care free, this memoir shows the struggles she has experienced and how she has evolved. I loved the idea of taking each family member on a one on one trip for her Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced copy! I had heard of Sara from the Nikki and Sara show on MTV, though I did not know much about her. After reading this memoir, I want to know more! Loved the style of this book, jumping back and forth from her past and a current grand canyon river rafting trip. Though Sara is a comic and seems so care free, this memoir shows the struggles she has experienced and how she has evolved. I loved the idea of taking each family member on a one on one trip for her birthday. This memoir follows the trip she took with her sister to camp in the grand canyon, something neither of them have done but push each other out of their comfort zone. I really enjoyed this book and want more from the author :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    nicole

    Recieved an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I'm a long-time fan of Schaefer and was so excited to read her memoir. The structure is well-done, alternating between her linear narrative and a white water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon she took with her younger sister in honor of her 40th birthday. I appreciated the candor and humor she brought to her self-reflection and her family's history. There is so much ground covered with ease - her father's mistake and their Recieved an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I'm a long-time fan of Schaefer and was so excited to read her memoir. The structure is well-done, alternating between her linear narrative and a white water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon she took with her younger sister in honor of her 40th birthday. I appreciated the candor and humor she brought to her self-reflection and her family's history. There is so much ground covered with ease - her father's mistake and their family's recovery, the role religion played in her upbringing, the dissolution of her marriage, the loss of her mother, her anxiety and the impact it had on critical moments in her career.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Craig David

    I loved this memoir. Sara Schaefer, a comedian, told us the story of a childhood secret coming to light and figuring out what the new normal looked like, all while also telling the story of her rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Oh yeah, and she has an huge fear of water. It made for an interesting tale and a ton of life lessons.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    What a wonderful surprise! I was reading through my August BookPage and just finished the review of Grand when I opened my librarys audiobook app and there it was. Available for checkout!!! I firmly believe you must listen to the universe when it speaks, so I downloaded the memoir and listened. Sara Schaefer is a standup comedian with a show on MTV as well as other writing and producing gigs. I hadnt heard of Schaefer, but Im not big into the comedy scene or really any scenes. Grand is Schaefers What a wonderful surprise! I was reading through my August BookPage and just finished the review of Grand when I opened my library’s audiobook app and there it was. Available for checkout!!! I firmly believe you must listen to the universe when it speaks, so I downloaded the memoir and listened. Sara Schaefer is a standup comedian with a show on MTV as well as other writing and producing gigs. I hadn’t heard of Schaefer, but I’m not big into the comedy scene or really any scenes. Grand is Schaefer’s heartfelt and vulnerable memoir where she talks about her childhood, her relationships, secrets, insecurities, and what it was like whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon with her younger sister for her 40th birthday. Schaefer reads the audiobook which she “recorded it in a little cubby under the stairs”. I think what made me really enjoy this memoir was Schaefer’s vulnerability. She bares her fears and anxieties while being relatable. Who hasn’t asked themself “Am I good enough?” or “Do I deserve to be happy?”. It never comes across as manipulative or gimmicky. In fact watch this video of the author unboxing her books. It makes me smile and tear up each time! I’ve read memoirs by other funny people like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, etc, but if I had to pick one to reread it would be Schaefer’s. Her memoir includes jokes and comedic timing, but it also gives a look into the authentic person behind the humor. Bonus if you also enjoy nature writing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This is a super sweet and fun read, something you can enjoy and get through in an afternoon. Sara Schaefer, a 40-year-old comedian with three siblings, has made it a goal to take a trip with each of her family members separately. Her younger sister Ross has chosen a weeklong trip rafting down the Grand Canyon. Thinking that this is a perfect opportunity to step outside her comfort zone have some true bonding moments with her sister, Sara says yes. Oh, but she's also terrified of water and the This is a super sweet and fun read, something you can enjoy and get through in an afternoon. Sara Schaefer, a 40-year-old comedian with three siblings, has made it a goal to take a trip with each of her family members separately. Her younger sister Ross has chosen a weeklong trip rafting down the Grand Canyon. Thinking that this is a perfect opportunity to step outside her comfort zone have some true bonding moments with her sister, Sara says yes. Oh, but she's also terrified of water and the dangers that whitewater rafting might bring. Besides the point. Schaefer uses the trip as a lens through which she tells her life story, each chapter rotating between the rafting journey and her life growing up - her childhood, her parents, her college life, and her career. I had never heard of Sara Schaefer before, but I really enjoyed her writing style, and I found her story to be relatable. She's had some ups and downs, some tragedy and some success, a messy divorce, loss of a loved one - and she's dealt with struggles that are familiar to all of us: imposter syndrome, anxiety, depression, creative paralysis. The Grand Canyon trip doesn't cure her, but it helps her come to terms with some of her struggles, and it gives her the energy to keep going. Everyone can learn something from this book, or you can read it just for a few laughs and poignant reflections. Thank you to Gallery Books for the ARC!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mindy Yount

    It surprised me how much I liked Grand: A Memoir by Sara Schaefer. I did not know who she was but the description of the book was good so I requested an advanced copy to read and review (thank you Net Galley and Gallery Books). This is a quick read, wasnt one sitting but finished in a half day. The book is dual timeline and describes both her one-week trip rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with her sister as well as alternating flashback chapters that describe her It surprised me how much I liked Grand: A Memoir by Sara Schaefer. I did not know who she was but the description of the book was good so I requested an advanced copy to read and review (thank you Net Galley and Gallery Books). This is a quick read, wasn’t one sitting but finished in a half day. The book is dual timeline and describes both her one-week trip rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with her sister as well as alternating flashback chapters that describe her childhood and family life. Sara is a professional comedian and there are a couple parts that are really, really funny but that isn’t the overall tone of the book – she also is introspective and serious and sometimes it’s even sad. I appreciated the way Sara describes her faith, growing up going to church and making a decision to follow Jesus though describes her beliefs later as something less certain. Sara’s writing felt authentic – like a real person who is working to make a living, spend time with family, and maybe still searching for true meaning.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Adolfo

    *ARC Pub Date: 08/11/20 This was a decent memoir. I enjoyed it. Sarah talks about her childhood, but not in any great detail, she basically hits on the major pivot points giving just enough detail so that you get a feel for the roles everyone in her family played. She also talks about her marriage and divorce, but she mostly focuses on her career and career struggles. I really enjoyed hearing how her siblings supported her throughout her divorce and the deep bond that they share. Sarah decides *ARC Pub Date: 08/11/20 This was a decent memoir. I enjoyed it. Sarah talks about her childhood, but not in any great detail, she basically hits on the major pivot points giving just enough detail so that you get a feel for the roles everyone in her family played. She also talks about her marriage and divorce, but she mostly focuses on her career and career struggles. I really enjoyed hearing how her siblings supported her throughout her divorce and the deep bond that they share. Sarah decides to do a special trip with each one of her siblings. She and her sister Ross decide to take a rafting trip (220 miles) to the Grand Canyon. The chapters bounce back and forth between the trip with her sister and her past. This back and forth really worked well for this memoir. This was a nice & easy read. Nothing over the top crazy happened but it was just a solid read and I’d for sure recommend checking it out.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    4/5 I was first introduced to Sara Schaefer through a story she told on The Moth. The story was about her family's fall from grace (and upper-middle-classdom) when her lawyer father revealed that he was skimming money from a client. The story was gripping and relatable and I had listened to it dozens of times. I listened to her comedy every now and again and thought it was great as well. I jumped at the chance to read her memoir. (BTW: My dad never did anything nefarious. When I say "relatable" 4/5 I was first introduced to Sara Schaefer through a story she told on The Moth. The story was about her family's fall from grace (and upper-middle-classdom) when her lawyer father revealed that he was skimming money from a client. The story was gripping and relatable and I had listened to it dozens of times. I listened to her comedy every now and again and thought it was great as well. I jumped at the chance to read her memoir. (BTW: My dad never did anything nefarious. When I say "relatable" I don't mean that.) Schaefer shuffles from childhood stories to recounting her Grand Canyon whitewater rafting journey with her sister. IMO, the book would have been great without the whitewater adventure. Maybe she felt like she needed some overall metaphor for her life's journey (or her editor did) but just her writing about her life was good enough for me. Warning: She talks about her mother's death and you will cry buckets.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I was a Goodreads giveaway winner of this book. Thank you to them and to Gallery books for the opportunity to read this title. This memoir alternates between Sara Schaefers formative years and a whitewater rafting trip she takes with her sister. Its very splashy. Growing up she had a rich life until it all came crashing down when her father confessed to not being above board in his dealings with clients. I loved Schaefers storytelling abilities. She detailed all the fine points of rafting in I was a Goodreads giveaway winner of this book. Thank you to them and to Gallery books for the opportunity to read this title. This memoir alternates between Sara Schaefer’s formative years and a whitewater rafting trip she takes with her sister. It’s very splashy. Growing up she had a rich life until it all came crashing down when her father confessed to not being above board in his dealings with clients. I loved Schaefer’s storytelling abilities. She detailed all the fine points of rafting in between talking about how she came to be a writer and standup comedian. Her telling of the rafting trip through the Grand Canyon puts the reader right in the center of it, down to the details of how they go to the bathroom. That was enough rafting for me, but I do highly recommend the book to any and all readers.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marianne Dearchs

    My first impression when I finished this book was that the author, Sara Schaefer, is a real human being. Her descriptions of her home and school life rang true to me. The negative aspects of her childhood were shared, but done in a manner that was fair to her loved ones. Nothing in this book felt exploitative or cruel. Her sense of humor is obvious. The theme of truth telling filtered throughout. The consequences of that telling could be horrible and redemptive. By weaving her personal life My first impression when I finished this book was that the author, Sara Schaefer, is a real human being. Her descriptions of her home and school life rang true to me. The negative aspects of her childhood were shared, but done in a manner that was fair to her loved ones. Nothing in this book felt exploitative or cruel. Her sense of humor is obvious. The theme of truth telling filtered throughout. The consequences of that telling could be horrible and redemptive. By weaving her personal life story with a description of a trip through the Grand Canyon with a beloved sister, Schaefer managed to keep the humor flowing and allow a respite from some of the more poignant portions of her story. I finished this book feeling that I would truly like this woman if we met in the future. Funny, flawed and authentic. My kind of human.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    Sara Schaefer, better known to many as a stand up comic, decides to take each of her siblings on a one on one vacation in her 40th year. With her younger sister Ross, she embarks on a week long, 220 mile white rafting trip along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. I really enjoyed this aspect of the memoir. I kept wondering if I would be able to do that (admittedly I have 30 years on her) and face my fears, and some of what they did was pretty terrifying. You know when the guides get Sara Schaefer, better known to many as a stand up comic, decides to take each of her siblings on a one on one vacation in her 40th year. With her younger sister Ross, she embarks on a week long, 220 mile white rafting trip along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. I really enjoyed this aspect of the memoir. I kept wondering if I would be able to do that (admittedly I have 30 years on her) and face my fears, and some of what they did was pretty terrifying. You know when the guides get anxious, something is up! What I did not enjoy so much was the alternate chapters about her growing up and adulthood to that point. What her family went through, and how each of them got through it was interesting but at many points felt overly indulgent to me. I am introspective, but I guess I just don't put it all out there.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I enjoyed this one - It was a quick and easy read that kept me interested throughout. Transitioning between a present day birthday trip rafting through the Grand Canyon, and notable childhood stories and situations that stuck with her, it was filled with several LOL moments and one-liners (my favorite!), heartfelt and sad moments, and life lessons that I found to be fairly relatable. A good reminder to conquer our fears, live life to the fullest, and appreciate those closest to us! Overall I I enjoyed this one - It was a quick and easy read that kept me interested throughout. Transitioning between a present day birthday trip rafting through the Grand Canyon, and notable childhood stories and situations that stuck with her, it was filled with several LOL moments and one-liners (my favorite!), heartfelt and sad moments, and life lessons that I found to be fairly relatable. A good reminder to conquer our fears, live life to the fullest, and appreciate those closest to us! Overall I think it did a good job at painting her family picture, without getting too far into details that might cause readers to lose interest. Prior to reading this, I was not familiar with any of Sara's other work but am definitely curious about her comedy now! Much appreciation to Goodreads, publisher and author for the ARC of this memoir!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dee Greer

    I loved this book. It is a journey of self discovery and family events which affected the author's perspectives on her life. Sara is a wonderful writer and embraces her comic timing and combines it with serious subject matter and you will find yourself laughing and crying sometimes at the same time. When she is traveling by raft through the Grand Canyon her descriptions of her surroundings made me feel as if was there with her. Her descriptions of her family through sad, painful and joyous times I loved this book. It is a journey of self discovery and family events which affected the author's perspectives on her life. Sara is a wonderful writer and embraces her comic timing and combines it with serious subject matter and you will find yourself laughing and crying sometimes at the same time. When she is traveling by raft through the Grand Canyon her descriptions of her surroundings made me feel as if was there with her. Her descriptions of her family through sad, painful and joyous times made me sad I was an only child and never got to experience these moments. This is the memoir of a very brave woman who puts it out there for the world to see. It is a wonderful read!!

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