Share 5 Funny and Feisty Novels about Surviving Difficult Times with Moxie

5 Funny and Feisty Novels about Surviving Difficult Times with Moxie

Mary Pauline Lowry is a native of Austin, Texas. She received her MFA from Boise State University. The author of the novels The Roxy Letters and Wildfire, she’s also a regular contributor to O, The Oprah Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe New York TimesThe Millions, and other publications.

I believe that reading comedic novels can be a form of self-care. Funny books offer a refreshing escape from our worries. But the novels on this list aren’t just hilarious—they also feature characters who survive great difficulties with moxie and grit (and sometimes more clumsiness than grace!) I hope they provide you with a respite, make you laugh, and inspire you to meet your present challenges with—when possible—a sense of humor.  


The Bucket List
by Georgia Clark

Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman lives and works in the fashion industry in NYC where she fits right in with the swirl of beautiful young people who think they’ll live forever. So, she’s blindsided to discover she has the BRCA1 gene mutation: the “breast cancer” gene and will likely need a preventative double mastectomy. She realizes she doesn’t want to lose her breasts before they’ve had their heyday. So she and her pals come up with a “boob bucket list” for her tatas to kick off Lacey’s year of sexual and sensual adventures. People calls it: Emotional, hilarious, and thought-provoking.” The Los Angeles Times describes it as: “Witty, sexy.” I say it’s enthralling and delightful! 

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The Bucket List
Georgia Clark

“Emotional, hilarious, and thought-provoking.” —People
“Witty, sexy.” —Los Angeles Times
#1 Cosmopolitan Best New Books of Summer
PureWow Best Reads of Summer

From the author of the critically acclaimed “lively and engrossing parable for women of all generations” (Harper’s Bazaar) The Regulars­, comes a deeply funny and thoughtful tale of a young woman who embarks on an unforgettable bucket list adventure.

Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman is blindsided when she’s diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene mutation: the “breast cancer” gene. Her high hereditary risk forces a decision: increased surveillance or the more radical step of a preventative double mastectomy. Lacey doesn't want to lose her breasts. For one, she’s juggling two career paths. Secondly, small-town Lacey’s not so in touch with her sexuality: she doesn’t want to sacrifice her breasts before she’s had the chance to give them their hey-day. To help her make her choice, she (and her friends) creates a “boob bucket list”: everything she wants do with and for her boobs before a possible surgery.

This kicks off a year of sensual exploration and sexual entertainment for the quick-witted Lacey Whitman. The Bucket List cleverly and compassionately explores Lacey’s relationship to her body and her future. Both are things Lacey thought she could control through hard work and sacrifice. But the future, it turns out, is more complicated than she could ever imagine.

Featuring the pitch-perfect “compulsively delicious” (Redbook) prose of The Regulars, The Bucket List is perfect for fans of Amy Poeppel and Sophie Kinsella.

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MENTIONED IN:

5 Funny and Feisty Novels about Surviving Difficult Times with Moxie

By Mary Pauline Lowry | April 8, 2020

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Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
by Helen Fielding

While I’m a devoted Bridget Jones fan, MAD ABOUT THE BOY is my very favorite of the four Bridget Jones novels. A fifty-something Bridget, widowed with two kids, works to get her groove back with the assistance of her lovable cast of friends and a dating tool that didn’t exist before she and Mark Darcy got hitched—Twitter. This is worth the read for Bridget’s twunking (aka drunk tweeting) alone. Guaranteed to cheer you up and remind you that even life’s worst tragedies can be survived with a sense of playfulness and friendship. 

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Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
Helen Fielding

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MENTIONED IN:

5 Funny and Feisty Novels about Surviving Difficult Times with Moxie

By Mary Pauline Lowry | April 8, 2020

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A Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole

Ignatius J. Reilly loves staying holed up in his bedroom of his mother’s house in New Orleans, writing bloviating letters of complaint on his Big Chief tablet. But when a car accident puts his mother in financial straits, she forces him out into the world to find gainful employment. I dare you not to laugh out loud at Ignatius, incongruously dressed as a pirate while selling hot dogs from a weenie wagon in the French Quarter. A hilarious, Pulitzer Prize winning take on one man’s trials and tribulations outside his comfort zone.  

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A Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole

An American comic masterpiece, its hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is “a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (The Chicago Sun-Times). After struggling to find a publisher, Toole committed suicide in 1969. More than a decade later, his mother succeeded in having his manuscript published by the Louisiana State University Press, and he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

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Be Frank With Me
by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Reclusive and curt literary legend M.M. Banning finds herself flat broke after being ripped off in a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme. She needs to write a novel—her first in decades—if she’s to keep a roof overhead. Her NYC publisher sends her an assistant to monitor her progress. When Alice Whitley arrives at M.M. Banning’s Bel Air mansion, she finds her main job is to spend time with Banning’s witty, eccentric son Frank, who is nine-years old, sports the clothes of a 1930s movie star, and doesn’t exactly fit in with his fellow fourth graders. Tender, heartwarming, and very, very funny. 

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Be Frank With Me
Julia Claiborne Johnson

What do you do with an “eccentric” child whose personal style recalls 1930s Hollywood? What do you do with his mother, a J. D. Salinger–type author who, after falling prey to a Ponzi scheme, must hire someone to take care of her son while she finishes her long-awaited second book? In short, BE FRANK WITH ME is a sweet story of a family, born and made, in all its unconventionality.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
by Jesse Andrews

A few years ago, I sent this book to my 15 year-old niece and my 73 year-old father—both of whom are picky about literature—and they both loved it. In fact, my dad said he laughed so hard it made his sides hurt. High school senior Greg Gaines is always committed to remaining at the periphery, refusing to join any high school clique. Instead of friends, he has a low profile “working relationship” with his classmate Earl, with whom he recreates classic films. But when Greg’s mom forces him to befriend a girl with cancer, his best laid plans for anonymity and detachment are totally annihilated. 

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Jesse Andrews

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MENTIONED IN:

5 Funny and Feisty Novels about Surviving Difficult Times with Moxie

By Mary Pauline Lowry | April 8, 2020

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