The idea of a basic astrology book that points out the bad points of each sign is nothing new, and it's a concept I really like for the simple fact that if people are laughing they may learn a thing or two about themselves without realizing it. While astrology is becoming more and more mainstream, there are still those who think of astrologers like seeing Aughra in "The Dark Crystal": Old people sitting around staring at astrolabes talking about "the angle of eternity!"
There are at least two series in this vein that I'm aware of, and all have a place on my astrology bookshelf: Hazel Dixon-Cooper's Born on a Rotten Day from 2003, with its corollaries Love on a Rotten Day for relationship astrology and Friends on a Rotten Day for friendship; and Stella Hyde's Darkside Zodiac from 2004, with its companions Darkside Zodiac at Work and Darkside Zodiac in Love. Sarah Christensen Fu's Bad Birthdays: The Truth Behind Your Crappy Sun Sign is an excellent addition to it.
What makes Bad Birthdays different from those two is that the snark level seems much higher to me than that of the other two, with Darkside Zodiac coming in second and  Born on a Rotten Day coming in third. I'm a huge fan of that style, so I really liked enjoyed the even more "tell it like it is" flavor of this work.
Sarah Christensen Fu also included something that the other two didn't: A day by day look at the year and a general overview of each from an astrological perspective, which parodies The Secret Language of Birthdays and others in that style. I take those books with a grain of salt, since each particular date is different astrologically from year to year. But honestly, I took off my professional astrologer hat when I read it, and had a really good laugh. Even if the particular date isn't your birthday, as you read through it you'll find entries like:
“Close your eyes and think back to your childhood, [DATE]-er. Was it all picket fences and pies on windowsills? Trips to the mall with your family, with a stop at TGI Friday’s on the way home? You have the strangest, rose-colored glasses of all time, because your childhood actually sucked, like everyone else’s, but for some reason you remember it to be the absolutely epitome of wholeness. This is cute for you, but actually slightly destructive for any offspring you might have, who will be forced to try to recreate these faux memories. Luckily, you’re financially stable and can save up for lots of therapeutic help.”
Also, I really liked the alliterative titles given to each sign. I think my two favorites were the Mercury-ruled signs of Gemini and Virgo, "Degenerate Gemini" and "Vexed Virgo". Mine is “Surly Scorpio”, and it’s one of the better ones. I suspect the author, a Virgo herself, was truly inspired with them. I just love them, for two reasons: One, because they make each sign truly memorable; and two, because they are extremely truthful. The memorable part is important. Each astrological sign has multiple two-word mottos; Aries, for example, is "I am." Most people can't even remember one for their own sign, but this way, it's easy and funny. 
They also have specific sun sign compatibility for each sign combination, as well as a section on “Jobs a [SIGN] might not screw up”, which I found totally amusing.
This book is much simpler than the others, not really attempting to explain anything astrological. If a Scorpio were reading this, for example, they wouldn’t know who the sign’s rulers are (Mars and Pluto, depending on your perspective). Anything that looks like standard astrology book fare is pretty much left out. If you consider the target audience of this book, that’s a good thing. Likely if you’re picking up this one, you’re pretty new with all things astrological.
The bottom line: If you’re looking for astrological humor, this one definitely has it in spades, but don’t look for explanations. Just sit back and laugh.

~review by John Marani

Author: Sarah Christensen Fu
Red Wheel/Weiser, 2014

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