Liberty Call... Port of Spain by Azreay'l

Liberty Call... Port of Spain

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A Three Stooges­–like comedy with a dash of social philosophy.

Before readers can get to the story, they are presented with an awkward series of introductory sections—a dedication, an acknowledgment that encourages people to follow their dreams, a “Meet the Author” section that details the author’s proposed business ventures and inventions, a list of hobbies, a list of milestones in the author’s life, and a “Disclaimer” that explains the book consists of “thoughts that have crossed the minds of many generations gone on before us, those with us, and those to come”—none of which has much to do with what follows. Then the story itself is a jumble. It centers on the misadventures of four military buddies, Barry, Ken, Alfred and Greg—the latter three are described as “misfits”—who try the patience of their commanding officer by pulling pranks and acting like children. Most of the novel is straight exposition without much detail. Azreay’l writes of the trio, “Almost daily, they have pulled pranks on the commanding officer, executive officer, and most senior officers.” Only a few pranks are mentioned after that, including a hackneyed gag involving the running of underwear up a flagpole. Descriptions tend to be unnatural; at one point, a character’s tears “splash” on a table and, later on, a room “quietly grew to a whisper.” Much of the humor is derived from characters bumping into things or inexplicably falling down. The characters spend a lot of time laughing, ostensibly to indicate where readers should be laughing, too. But the dialogue is wooden, especially in comedy club scenes in the beginning and end in which the comedians mostly do crowd work, yelling at the audience or hitting on women among them. Elsewhere, there are long stretches of characters spouting one-sided rhetoric that comes off a bit unnaturally, as when comedian Keyonton bristles at an accusation of gay bashing—“I am not gay bashing, if anything I am word bashing. I am not the one who has power to say it is right or wrong, but if He says it is wrong, then that is good enough for me to know that it’s wrong in His sight”—or when Barry and Ken complain about Republicans “putting it to the middle and lower class” that year.

An unappealing mix of empty slapstick and soapboxing.

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1483672915
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Xlibris
Program: Kirkus Indie
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