Sarah Vowell’s Humorous Perspective of History

In grade school learning about American history was always boring. It was dry factual information that consisted of memorizing names, years, and conflicts. I would often find myself having difficulty paying attention as the subject was not relatable to me.  In her book The Wordy Shipments Sarah Vowell makes history surprisingly entertaining. Vowell breaks the rules of history telling. Her writing may contain facts but her way of describing them is colorful and makes me want to keep reading. In her humor driven version of history she includes familiar pop culture TV shows like Happy Days and The Brady Bunch.

Instead of a dry description about the pilgrims and the Native Americans Vowell writes about a Brady Bunch episode; where Greg, Bobby, and Peter Brady construct a movie about how the Native’s land was taken away. The style in which Vowell writes is factual but at the same time she pokes fun at history. This makes for quite a humorous read and instead of tuning out like I normally would I was motivated to keep reading to the end. Putting the familiar characters from well-known TV shows in the historical context made it both relatable and entertaining.


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