A Brief History of Oversharing: One Ginger’s Anthology of Humiliation

Hitchins, Shawn

  • Musings from a “one-man flash mob” (Toronto Star)

    Comedian Shawn Hitchins explores his irreverent nature in this debut collection of essays. Hitchins doesn’t shy away from his failures or celebrate his mild successes — he sacrifices them for an audience’s amusement. He roasts his younger self, the effeminate ginger-haired kid with a competitive streak. The ups and downs of being a sperm donor to a lesbian couple. Then the fiery redhead professes his love for actress Shelley Long, declares his hatred of musical theatre, and recounts a summer spent in Provincetown working as a drag queen.

    Nothing is sacred. His first major break-up, how his mother plotted the murder of the family cat, his difficult relationship with his father, becoming an unintentional spokesperson for all redheads, and many more.

    Blunt, awkward, emotional, ribald, this anthology of humiliation culminates in a greater understanding of love, work, and family. Like the final scene in a Murder She Wrote episode, A Brief History of Oversharing promises everyone the A-ha! moment Oprah tells us to experience. Paired with bourbon, Scottish wool, and Humpty Dumpty Party Mix, this journey is best read through a lens of schadenfreude.


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  • Best known for sparking the global wave of Ginger Pride by marching hundreds of redheads through the streets of Edinburgh, Shawn Hitchins is an award-winning entertainer who has toured throughout Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. Hitchins was raised in a hayfield, educated in a swamp, and still has all his own teeth. He resides in Toronto, Ontario (a city he’s tried to escape since Y2K).

  • Published: September 2017

    ISBN: 9781770413269

    Dimensions: 5.25 x 8.25 in.

    Pages: 240

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“Thank you, Shawn Hitchins, for oversharing. Any loss of dignity you experienced from writing this memoir is a laugh-out-loud-funny gain for the rest of us.” — Rick Mercer

“It takes a special kind of person to write a play-by-play description of masturbation that is simultaneously hilarious, repulsive, and sweet. That person is Shawn Hitchins … His book is at turns bawdy and beautiful … He’s not kidding when he says he’s oversharing, but somehow he makes the mix of raw emotion and salty hilarity work.” — Foreword Reviews

“Each moment of sincerity or loss is sandwiched by punchlines and parody … Yet taken as a whole, there’s a gentle depth to the collection, encouraging each of us, through bumbling example, to learn to accept our own quirks and flaws...like many good comedians, Hitchins is willing to excoriate himself to amuse — and, just maybe, enrich — his audience.” — Quill & Quire

“There is an unanticipated poignancy that surfaces frequently in his stories. He is sharing (not oversharing) his vulnerability. There’s not a hint of the maudlin in this. It’s clear-eyed tough writing about the scars as well as the successes.” — David G. Hallman’s blog

“If you revel in reading about the embarrassment of others — namely, Shawn himself — this is a fun read.” — Toronto Star

“I am so glad I am not Shawn Hitchins, but I sure wish I could write like him. A Brief History of Oversharing is hilarious and heartwarming. Reading it is like sharing a warm bath with the man himself. At least I hope it’s the bath that’s warm.” — Michael Urie, actor (The Good Wife, Modern Family, Ugly Betty)

“There is something quite beautiful in the bawdiness we read here.” — Reviews by Amos

“A hilarious, thoughtful collection of essays that ultimately offer a collective message to accept ourselves, Hitchins’ Anthology of Humiliation is the perfect way to add one of Canada's wittiest voices to any holiday gift exchange.” – CBC Arts, The Year in Queer

“Hilarious and touching.” — CBC Books