In this trenchant cultural satire, Andrews (How To Make Your Own Hammock and Lie In It, 1978) examines the life of a 60's...

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HOW TO BEAT THE SYSTEM

In this trenchant cultural satire, Andrews (How To Make Your Own Hammock and Lie In It, 1978) examines the life of a 60's dropout who stayed dropped-out. Octogenarian author Lionel Goldfish has made his living writing Horatio Alger-like ""true"" success books--books that hold up pie in the sky for the unwary--but now, as he nears the end of his life, he hopes to atone for ""all the rubbish"" he's previously published by presenting the real truth, in the form of the story of one Renet Benet. In 1969, Benet is a history professor at the Ulysses S. Grant University in Philadelphia, married to a rich but bitchy wife, with a sullen young son named No-Neck. All changes when Benet's womanizing (or coed-izing) catches up with him; he flees Philly in disgrace and somehow finds himself in Woodstock, a 37-year-old member of the youth culture. He hooks up with an old Harvard classmate named McCool, moving into his Cambridge digs, buying a water bed, and smoking and swallowing as much dope as he possibly can. His main purpose in life is to avoid working for The System, and he manages fairly well, earning his meager living by taking care of a bunch of capybara--Amazon River rodents--on which McCool and chemistry genius Dr. Wilt the Wizard are experimenting. The book then takes a surreal turn as Dr. Wilt commits suicide (but is still able to communicate with Benet via a white princess telephone), and Benet learns that The System does indeed exist--in an evil sub-basement beneath Harvard's Widener Library. Overall, faintly simplistic in its message, but with a level eye on the 60's, and reminiscent of Alan Harrington's classic The Revelations of Dr. Modesto.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1987

ISBN: 0759238774

Page Count: -

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987