Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

The Madwoman and the Roomba Summary and Reviews

The Madwoman and the Roomba

My Year of Domestic Mayhem

by SandraTsing Loh

The Madwoman and the Roomba by SandraTsing Loh X
The Madwoman and the Roomba by SandraTsing Loh
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A comic exploration of a year in the life of an "imaginatively twisted and fearless" (Los Angeles Times) best-selling author.

Ah, 55. Gateway to the golden years! Professional summiting. Emotional maturity. Easy surfing toward the glassy blue waters of retirement…Or maybe not? Middle age, for Sandra Tsing Loh, feels more like living a disorganized 25-year-old's life in an 85-year-old's malfunctioning body. With raucous wit and carefree candor, Loh recounts the struggles of leaning in, staying lean, and keeping her family well-fed and financially afloat--all those burdens of running a household that still, all-too-often, fall to women.

The Madwoman and the Roomba chronicles a roller coaster year for Loh, her partner, and her two teenage daughters in their ramshackle quasi-Craftsman, with a front lawn that's more like a rectangle of compacted dirt and mice that greet her as she makes her morning coffee. Her daughters are spending more time online than off; her partner has become a Hindu, bringing in a household of monks; and she and her girlfriends are wondering over Groupon "well" drinks how they got here.

Whether prematurely freaking out about her daughters' college applications, worrying over her eccentric aging father, or overcoming the pitfalls of long-term partnership and the temptations of paired-with-cheese online goddess webinars, Loh somehow navigates the realities of what it means to be a middle-aged woman in the twenty-first century. By day's end, we just might need a box of chardonnay and a Roomba to clean up the mess.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Loh's voice is laugh-out-loud hilarious, and her fun house perspective on the foibles of middle age are intelligent and effervescent. Fans of her previous memoir and her NPR program 'The Loh Down on Science' will delight in this outing." - Publishers Weekly

"How lucky we are. Sandra Tsing Loh's hilarious, snarky, insightful, and compassionate inner monologue could have stayed inside her head. But she wrote it all down, and that makes us the fortunate ones. I laughed from the beginning to the end. You will too. If you don't there's something seriously wrong with you." - Julia Sweeney, comedian

"This wildly funny book proves that the more of life's indignities that are heaped on Sandra Tsing Loh, the more we will thrill to her brilliant wit and rock-solid resilience. I laughed about seventy times, welled up twice, and cried at the end. Spectacular." - Henry Alford, author of Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?

"If humor will save us from these times―and if not, nothing will―Sandra Tsing Loh should be president. Or, better, queen. I devoured this perceptive, of-the-moment book about midlife love, work, motherhood, peer pressure, and more, with tears of hilarity running down my face. Sandra Tsing Loh could write an oven manual, and I'd laugh. I think she might be the funniest writer writing today." - Cathi Hanauer, editor of The Bitch in the House

"The Madwoman and the Roomba is so funny it woke up my husband. He couldn't fall back to sleep with all the cackling, so he told me to read it aloud, and then we were both laughing. It's a year in the life of a very particular family: Mom wants to write The Angry Divorced Mother's Cookbook; her live-in boyfriend is more interested in the New York Times' barbecue recipes than in finding a full-time job; her brother strips to his underwear to give their father's eulogy…In other words, they're just like the rest of us: trying to get by without killing each other. Do you like laughing? Do you like reading? Buy this book!" - Caitlin Flanagan, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Girl Land

This information about The Madwoman and the Roomba was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Dan W. (Fort Myers, FL)

Captivating!
From the start of reading this book I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. A story would slowly start off and then gradually pick up speed before one story ended and the next one began! I enjoyed the book, although as a male, senior citizen, I might be the targeted audience. The humor in the stories were infectious! If my local library book discussion group selected this book, I would gladly participate in the discussion.

Susan W., Michigan

Moms Need a Good Laugh, too!
If ever I needed to read a book that would make me laugh, now was the time. Admittedly, it might not have been fair to begin reading in this mindset. In fact, I wasn't completely sold in the first 100 pages. I felt like I was reading the author's stand-up material, and maybe I was. The problem was that I wanted more; each chapter felt too short to me. But then I fell into the rhythm of the writing. I laughed at the situation or stopped to remember a similar time in my life.

It was somewhat confusing to sort out the many relationships. There's a lot of material covered here, and it led me to compare Loh's writing to David Sedaris'. I think she easily has enough material here for a second book, if some of the early chapters were expanded. Simplicity goes a long way. My other thing to think about is the title; I'm not sure it does the material justice.

Anyway, long before the last page, Loh turned me into a fan of her humor. As a mother, 60 survivor of the last century, recently anointed Grandmother, and an American born Chinese retiree, I enjoyed this book on many levels.

Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI)

The Madwoman and the Roomba
This book was funny and quite a good read. I'm of an age that much of what the author said was totally relatable. However, I think mothers of any age will be taken by this book.

She is very clever, and has a humorous way of looking at situations we can all relate to. While the book on the whole is a fun read, it is also touching and a bit sad in places. It presents the perfect combination of feelings that leads to a thoroughly enjoyable book. I recommend it highly.

Lorraine D. (Lacey, WA)

The Madwoman and The Roomba - Comical Relief
If you need a light, easy read, an uplift in spirit, or just a good laugh, then this book is the thing for you. It is a fast-paced unweaving of one mom's stories as her life seemingly unravels through the year, conveniently knit across seasons and the calendar. You certainly may see some of your own family's quirks and situations as her year unravels. Each short chapter is fast paced and presents a modern-day story with many references to events, names, and the like that will likely jog some memories from your own life story. From quirky relatives, to rebelling teens, to society in general, The Madwoman and the Roomba reads as if it were a stand-up comedy routine. A welcomed reprieve from the challenges or routine of everyday life. SandraTsing Loh has provided a book that is a truly fun read and, while it can be enjoyed by any aged adult reader, it would likely appeal more to those who are in their 30's or 40's who would relate in a current experiential timing sense.

Catheryne Z. (Plano, TX)

Reflections of a Mom
I enjoyed this book. Several of the essays were very funny and relatable. Although I have a very different background than the author, most of the essays were interesting and entertaining to read. The essays were arranged by seasons. Overall, the book was a quick read. My favorite essays were C Plus Tiger Mom, 101 Arguments Against Summer Fun, and Let's Commence. Some of the essays rambled; overall most made me laugh.

Susan S. (Springdale, AR)

The Madwoman and the Roomba
Snort, chuckle, guffaw…these and more await you as you delve into this book. I think every possible nook and cranny of the author's life has been exposed and made fun of. No skeletons remain hidden in her family closets much to the delight of the reader. Her tales are completely relate-able which make them oh so much more hilarious. She's not afraid to poke fun at herself and everyone around her. Life is never taken too seriously in the Loh household. There's never a dull moment. I really didn't want this book to end.

...10 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Information

Sandra Tsing Loh is a writer and performer. Her work has been heard on NPR's Morning Edition and This American Life. She is a contributing editor to the Atlantic and hosts the syndicated daily radio minute The Loh Down on Science. Her book, The Madwoman and the Volvo, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014. Loh lives in Pasadena, California.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more biography/memoir...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Honor
by Thrity Umrigar
Set in India, a tender and evocative novel about love across a cultural divide, familial devotion and betrayal.
Who Said...

The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.