Paula Young Lee is flippin’ hilarious. I stopped at least three times within the first chapter of Deer Hunting in Paris to read passages aloud to Adam, at one point snorting so hard with laughter that I couldn’t get the words out. Mix that snarktastic humor with a defiantly skewed worldview and an unholy love of wild game, and you get a memoir that is equal parts gut-busting and gut-churning. (I admit I had to skim some of the parts where Lee waxes philosophical about removing the entrails from an animal carcass. I do not share her love of offal, and I definitely won’t be making use of her recipe for deer heart.)
Lee grew up in Maine, the middle child of Korean immigrants. Her father was a Methodist minister, and as a lifelong Methodist myself, her depiction of both her father’s deep faith and her own ambivalence towards it resonated with me. Also striking a chord was the fact that she met her significant other, a corporate lawyer and conservative Republican, on an online dating site. Replace a few details and you have the story of how I met my husband. Although Lee feels strongly that marriage isn’t for her, her steady and supportive relationship with a man who is in many ways her fundamental opposite would be instructive to anyone looking for their “perfect mate.” You might not know who you’re looking for after all.