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Given the nickname “Family Liar” by her father around the time she started talking, Sarah Thyre was the second of five children to be born into a southern family of Roman Catholics. Confused by this endearment, but eager to live up to it, Sarah quickly managed to get herself into precarious situations.

Whether it is small Sarah accidentally going “poddy” in the garage during a game of hide-and-seek, medium-sized Sarah surviving a fishing trip with her volatile father, or full-sized Sarah unwittingly stealing a car from her boyfriend’s employer, in Dark at the Roots grown-up Sarah shares each story with self-effacing sincerity and a seemingly invincible sense of humor. The ability to turn pain into punch lines is a skill that Sarah honed by necessity: Her father was unpredictably moody and routinely lashed out at his young family until eventually Sarah’s mother moved her four girls and newborn son out of the “comfort” of marriage and into the uncertainty of single parenting. The regular meals and the indoor heating were soon drained from their middle-class lifestyle.

Still, Sarah boldly tried to maintain a façade of wealth-fooling no one but herself. This memoir flees from Sarah’s childhood with the high-wire urgency of improv comedy and the ever-teetering forward momentum of a runaway toddler while holding tight to the bits that made her the wry, deeply funny person she is today.

   
 
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