Download Disaster Preparedness: A Memoir Audiobook

Disaster Preparedness: A Memoir Audiobook, by Heather Havrilesky Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Heather Havrilesky Narrator: Karen White Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2010 ISBN: 9781481570473
3.46 out of 53.46 out of 53.46 out of 53.46 out of 53.46 out of 5 3.46 (13 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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This is a stunningly perceptive, hilarious memoir of the transformative humiliation of childhood—and adulthood—from a truly original, already beloved voice.

When Heather Havrilesky was a kid in the seventies, it seemed there were only disaster movies. Burning towers, devouring earthquakes, careening airliners, alien pod invasions. To be prepared, she and her siblings fabricated elaborate plans to escape any and every emergency. But what began merely as a childhood game grew into a way of life where something shocking lurked around every corner.

A brave and hilarious memoir, Disaster Preparedness charts how the most painful moments in Havrilesky’s life prepared her for a cautious but honest adulthood. From her naïve take on her parents’ D-I-V-O-R-C-E, to losing her virginity in less than ideal circumstances, to losing her father way before she was ready, in chapter after chapter Havrilesky peels back the layers of her childhood innocence and reveals the wounds that have shaped her, the lessons that have—despite her thickheadedness—managed to sink in, and the laughter that has carried her through.

By laying bare her bumps and bruises, Havrilesky offers hope that anyone can create a frazzled and unruly, desperate and wistful, fabulously frayed-at-the-edges plan to stare disaster in the face, to meet it head-on. Uproarious, sophisticated, and wise, Disaster Preparedness is a field guide to personal disasters from an irresistible voice that gets to the heart of it all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I love Heather Havrilesky’s work and have been reading her for years. She’s smart, hilarious, unique—just terrific.”

    Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Heather Havrilesky’s memoir nails the sheer life-or-deathness of the Very Important Things in a suburban kid’s world with a shticky self-awareness of how very unimportant they turn out to be.”


  • “Havrilesky’s winning essays venture into the perils of socialization and dating, always keeping a light, self-deprecating tone that attains at moments a wonderfully humane sagacity.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Her sweet and witty examination of…aspects of a 1970s suburban upbringing focuses on lessons learned along the way. Havrilesky’s reflections on the damage and the growth caused by living through life’s myriad little disasters, and her enthusiastic conclusions about the value of our efforts just to live our lives, are encouraging and designed to remind us that we are, in fact, OK.”

    Library Journal

  • “While this memoir is dedicated to her fiercely independent mother, she creates a pensive, loving, and honest eulogy for her late father, the spontaneous adventurer. The end, refreshingly free of spite and full of hard-won optimism, is the true accomplishment of her work.”


  • “Heather Havrilesky captures the weird, chaotic, innocent but also jaded, sweet but also kind of rancid essence of childhood in the 1970s. And if that’s not enough, she takes us—hilariously, painfully, utterly relatably—through the entropy of being a teenager in the 1980s. At once sharp and tender, Disaster Preparedness both laments and salutes what it means to belong to a family—and indeed an entire culture—that seems inherently unmoored.”

    Meghan Daum, author of My Misspent Youth and Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 5/10/2011

    " This book really spoke to me of my childhood era and brought up a lot of memories for me. I especially enjoyed the last chapter. The book wouldn't have been meaningful beyond its reading to me without the final words. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trevor | 4/6/2011

    " Amusing comic essays, but ultimately nothing really memorable. Good quick escapist read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 3/31/2011

    " All this did was make me even more homesick. Thanks a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fran | 3/8/2011

    " I was curious to see what this memoir had to offer. Reviews were stating that the author's life was pretty ordinary. While it's true that nothing really extraordinary happens, her writing style held my interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hannah | 3/4/2011

    " A few nice moments but really had no reason to be written, unfortunately. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Benjamin | 2/27/2011

    " Four stars for wit, two starts for just not really having an interesting enough life to write a memoir about.

    Not nearly as good as her TV reviews on Salon were. Hope she succeeds at Murdoch's Daily "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mollie | 2/21/2011

    " This book started out really well, and overall I liked it. The flow from chapter to chapter was a little herkey-jerkey though and it made the book feel like a bunch of essays randomly stuck together to make a book, not a memoir or having any sort of over-riding theme. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 2/4/2011

    " Some of these stories were really interesting and made me laugh, others not so much. My favorite was "With or Without You". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisabeth | 2/1/2011

    " Part of my liking of this book was the author's memories of growing up in the '70s and '80s, as we are close in age. Part of it was our kindred feelings of wanting to prevent any disasters befalling us. And part of it is she is just damn funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Koz | 1/31/2011

    " Entertaining. I have high memoir standards, though, especially humor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/29/2011

    " I enjoyed her sarcasm and reflections on her experience growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. I loved the reference to Skipper vs. Barbie--the wannabee with flat feet, flat chest and arms that will never bend! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 NerdGirl | 1/20/2011

    " This book was so good, so close to home. Heather & I are like soul twins--part pop culture, part dysfunctional family survivors! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 1/15/2011

    " Sharply observed, heartbreaking, funny and generous. "

About the Author

Heather Havrilesky grew up in Durham, North Carolina. After graduating from Duke University, she moved to San Francisco, where, in 1996, she cocreated the weekly column “Filler” with illustrator Terry Colon for, one of the first daily sites on the Web. “Filler” ran for five years and was’s most popular feature. In 2001, she created the Rabbit Blog. Her work has appeared in Spin, New York, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington PostBookForum, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. In 2003, she joined the staff of as television critic. She lives with her family in Los Angeles.

About the Narrator

Karen Grey is the pen name for award-winning narrator Karen White. A stage, screen, and radio drama actor in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles in the late twentieth century, she started recording books in 1999. Now back in her home state of North Carolina, she shares a home with her family and (probably) too many pets, where she continues to narrate audiobooks as well as make up stories.