SOLON, Ohio – Family vacations, awkward encounters, bad dates and childhood friendships make up the tales shared in Danny Pellegrino’s new book “How Do I Un-Remember This? Unfortunately True Stories.”
The Solon native, who’s known for his popular podcast “Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino,” had plenty of memories to share about his hometown.
“I loved my childhood, growing up. I had a great childhood,” Pellegrino said. “I’m really thankful for my family and where I grew up, and the Midwest values I had growing up. I live in California now, but I think my heart is always in Cleveland.”
In California, Pellegrino has interviewed major pop culture stars for “Everything Iconic.” The list includes Katie Couric, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rosie O’Donnell, Cameron Diaz and Keke Palmer, along with Miss Piggy from “The Muppets” and “countless ‘Real Housewives,’” Pellegrino said.
Pellegrino has self-produced the podcast since he started it in 2017, booking guests, editing and promoting all 300+ episodes. Recently, the podcast surpassed 27 million downloads.
Some of the most popular podcast bits aren’t the stars that Pellegrino talks to, though. In many episodes, Pellegrino shares “detours,” and tells stories about his experiences.
After live tours with “Everything Iconic,” the host noticed listeners connecting with his personal life.
“People would come up to me at the tour, asking me stories about my family or my mom’s woodpecker, or whatever it was – those silly stories, they would ask more about than the other stuff from my show,” Pellegrino said.
He decided to write a book about his own life, following other ghostwriting experiences making cooking and dieting books. “How Do I Un-Remember This?” arrived on March 8 through Sourcebooks.
“I always knew I wanted to write a book, something in the vein of David Sedaris, but my version of it,” Pellegrino said. “When I realized people were latching onto these family stories or vacations I had as a kid, or these things I’d talk about on the show, I knew those were the stories I wanted to explore more and write about more.”
The author dug into childhood journals, recounting details from decades ago. The resulting stories touch on plenty of hilarity in Pellegrino’s life, like frantic family vacations to Disney World, Christmas shopping with an urn in tow, and bad family vehicle purchases. Pop-culture references are peppered throughout.
The book finds its center in its weightier moments. One story finds Pellegrino and a friend at a “Magic Mike” show in Las Vegas, when a mass shooting took place at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in 2017. Another chapter ties a particularly bad date to the death of Pellegrino’s grandmother. Other stories touch on his journey to coming out as gay.
“Even though my upbringing was in Solon, I hear from a lot of people outside the Midwest who had similar experiences with family vacations or similar coming out stories, or similar bad date stories,” Pellegrino said. “I didn’t want to shy away from any of the heavy stuff. I went into it writing, hopefully, a book that was silly and would make people laugh, but I didn’t want to shy away from any of the heavy stuff that comes up naturally.”
Pellegrino said that his favorite stories in his book involve his family, sharing the personalities of his brothers and parents.
Those are the same stories that his family members share when they gather for holidays.
“They’re the stories you repeat with each other. They make you laugh,” Pellegrino said. “To have a book filled with some of those family stories, that we share every time we’re together, is fun.”
You can find more information about Pellegrino, his podcast and his book at everythingiconic.com.
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