Book Reviews

The Womanly Art of Alligator Wrestling

The Womanly Art of Alligator Wrestling:
Inspirational Stories for Outrageous Women Who Survive by Their Wisdom and Wit  
by Ana Tampanna
Silsby Publishing Company


Don’t let the “inspirational” part of this book’s title scare you. It isn’t New Age fluff. There are real and metaphorical alligators in here. What this book really contains is a diversity of stories about women solving problems, often without much regard for what they “should” be doing.

“Salad Lady” is a flippant story about being yourself, one of the examples involving an extraordinary headdress worn in a very public place. “The Monster in the Bathroom” is a shocking tale of burglary and the value of listening to your instincts. “Best Friends” illustrates the importance of having family you choose for yourself — and gee, it’s too bad there isn’t an actual illustration of the cactus scene. “Baby Steps for Supermoms” reminds us that nobody can do everything, but it sure helps to share stories of your successes with friends.

Two features make this book stand out. One is the quotes heading each essay, gems like “Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored” and “The only women who don’t believe that sexual harassment is a real problem in this country are women who have never been in the workplace.”

Then there are the “Dinner Questions,” intended as discussion seeds for times when women gather to tell each other stories. “What silly routines do you follow to achieve beauty?” and “When have others been shocked by your food preferences or lifestyle?” are favorites. Many are typical of table talk at my parents’ house — though I wouldn’t launch most of them at a big holiday gather. They’re a bit too zippy for that.

The Womanly Art of Alligator Wrestling is a fun and wonderful book. It’s a perfect gift for someone who’s going off to college, getting married, or starting a new job. Life’s a wild and crazy game, and the only way to win it is to play by your own rules. You can do it — here’s how.


RATING: 4 Broomsticks

» Originally appeared in newWitch #02

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