An entertaining collection of original aphorisms, irreverent quips and offbeat wordplay by new author Sykes.
Borrowing the wit and wisdom of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain and the offbeat perspective of Jack Handey, Sykes provides hundreds of captivating, thought-provoking and occasionally puzzling reflections about everyday life. The book is organized into 14 chapters, some with biting titles (“Lawjerks & Lie-yers,” “Age & Dotage”), others amusing (“Love, Marriage & Other Reconcilable Differences”), and some reflecting a more jabberwockylike sense of humor (“Oddvice,” “Perplexplanations” and “Qwhystions”). Sykes perspicaciously studies the everyday as economically expressed in pithy sayings, epigrams and free-verse poetry. Some entries are wise and quotable: “Love your harness, and your load will pull you.” Others are silly: “If your enemies say you’re too big for your britches, the best thing to do is look good in tight pants.” However, the book is most engaging when Sykes uses that popular comedic construct: the paraprosdokian, a rhetorical device in which the latter part of a reflection is so unexpected that it causes the reader to reframe the first part. For example, Sykes writes: “The human capacity for delusion is amazing. Some New Yorkers, for example, actually believe they’re outdoors when they’re in Central Park.” Most of Sykes’ musings would serve as valuable fodder at a lively dinner party of sharp-witted wags, philosophers and comics. However, the intended ironies sometimes get lost in tangled declarations: “If you’re planning to bite the hand that feeds you…plan to eat the hand too, since hunger’s going to come back in either case long before dinner ever does.” Elsewhere, Sykes occasionally misses the mark when concocting new words—“reMorse Code,” “flaccid flagpoles,” “gymnauseum”—that don’t quite live up to Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness.” These few miscues detract from an otherwise exceptionally entertaining book.
Witty, wise and full of insights.