If I were to pick a favorite genre of book right now, I would have to make up the genre humorous tragedy and grant it most favored status. There's nothing I like better than a sad story told in a humorous, or at least bitter, or at least ironic way. Perhaps the perfect example of the sad tale with humor without bitterness is Widow's Walk by Maria Fontane, one of the 9/11 firefighter's wives. The best example of tragic humor with bitterness is adulthood misadventures of Augusten Burroughs, who is (surprisingly) charmingly always one small tragedy after from utter self destruction. And perhaps the best example of tragic comedy without any actual funniness is Poor Widow Me.Perhaps I'm disgruntled because I paid full price for Poor Widow Me. As a writer I should know the importance of paying full price for books and, as a writer, I can't afford full price for books so it's a bit of quandry to start out with. But then I also really desperately wanted to love this book. I wanted this book to be the one I'd hand off to other widows saying “this book will make you laugh at even the most desperate times.” Sigh. Poor Widow Me is definitely not that book.
An example of the non humorous humor include “ [when talking about going to a bereavement group] if I had died, Jimmy [her husband] wouldn't be caught dead here.” I loved some of the other passages where she talks about her anger with her husband or with her the stupid things people say to her. But it's like with her humor, she's afraid of going deeper than a third grade birthday card joke.