Kaplan, Cynthia 1963(?)–
Kaplan, Cynthia 1963(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1963; married; children: one son, one daughter. Education: University of Pennsylvania, received degree, 1985.
ADDRESSES: Home—New York, NY. Agent—c/o Amy Rennert Agency, Inc., 98 Main St., Ste. 302, Tiburon, CA 94920.
CAREER: Actress, comedian, singer, and journalist. Has worked as a waitress; actor in independent films, commercials, and theater productions.
Why I'm Like This: True Stories (autobiographical essays), Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to anthologies. Contributor to periodicals, including New York, New York Times, McSweeney's, Organic Style, and Tin House.
SIDELIGHTS: Actress and comedy writer Cynthia Kaplan spent many years struggling to get into the entertainment business. She waited tables and found small roles in commercials and independent films. While still in her twenties, she studied comedy writing with Lewis Black and found work as a writer and performer. This eventually led to work as an op-ed humor writer for the New York Times. In her debut book, Why I'm Like This: True Stories, Kaplan collects twenty-one previously published essays on various chapters in her life, from childhood to her career struggles as an adult. While many of the pieces are laced with humor, the author does touch on more serious subjects, such as her grandmother's decline in health as a result of Alzheimer's disease.
Critics of Kaplan's book observed that her childhood was largely comfortable and uneventful; thus the author resorts to hyperbole or overreaction to events in her life for comic effect. As New York Times Book Review contributor Virginia Heffernan commented, "this theatricality might have been too broad for the page were it not for Kaplan's careful prose and clever characterization of her relatives." Beth Kephart further explained in the University of Pennsylvania Gazette online: "The book is so good because Kaplan is such a likable and trustworthy guide to her own life. Both honest and compassionate, refreshingly intelligent, fastidiously articulate, she writes not at the expense of others, but at the expense of herself." A Kirkus Reviews critic concluded that Kaplan's is a "fresh voice with a bright future."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kaplan, Cynthia, Why I'm Like This: True Stories, Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
Booklist, June 1, 2002, Will Hickman, review of Why I'm Like This, p. 1663.
Detroit Free Press, July 28, 2002, review of Why I'm Like This, p. E4.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of Why I'm Like This, p. 638.
New York Times Book Review, July 20, 2003, Virginia Heffernan, review of Why I'm Like This, p. 20.
Salt Online, http://www.saltmag.com/ (April 25, 2005), "Writer in a Jar: Interview with Cynthia Kaplan."
University of Pennsylvania Gazette Online, http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/ (September 1, 2002), Beth Kephart, "Laughs and Loss," review of Why I'm Like This.