GOING DOWN FOR GUM WRAPPERS by Bob Lancaster

GOING DOWN FOR GUM WRAPPERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These memoirs of an Arkansas newspaperman are struggling to be a novel, and read very much like one: told in the third person, with some humorous exaggerations and neat doctorings of happenstance. Novel or not, it's an amusing book. The finest tale in the book, the chapter called ""Pilgramage,"" is reminiscent of Twain in both style and subject, as a search for religion leads to Aunt Laura Bell and her chatty tale of how Brother Belcher lost the faith because of a wasp-sting, Some of the other stories seem more like newspaper column work: conversations between left and right hemispheres of the brain, and neatly pat conclusions. Others are deft, but merely farcical: battles with an incorrigible set of collapsing bed slats, being saddled with the phone number of a bookie named Shorty. In style, the author spices his journalistic prose with the touch of Perelmania that refers to morning as ""cockcrow"" and a belly as ""midriff tallow."" In general, he would be a Western; plain-speaking, blue-collar, true-hearted, anti-intellectual, but he betrays himself by his repertoire of both words and books. Though the sundry mix of tall-tales, memoirs, philosophy, and journalism actually creates a compelling narrative, not all the elements are of equal strength. Nonetheless, the book has its shining moments, in attitudes both wise and wise-guy.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1986
Publisher: August House