An antic, often very amusing social satire that occasionally loses its way.

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It's About God and Business

A witty, comic novel in which God encounters plenty of very human problems.

Wilson’s debut features an opinionated, bad-tempered, sometimes hilariously contradictory version of the Judeo-Christian God as its hero, its anti-hero and very nearly its sole character. As the story opens, God is in his office busily going about his usual tasks of creating stars, galaxies and planets, but ever since he was knocked unconscious by Father Time in the foyer of his house, he’s been having problems recalling little details: “He had already begun a daily excursion through the waters of forgetfulness where He often ran aground on the reef of short-term memory loss, which was located not too far from the shoals of anger and frustration.” This leads to several embarrassing incidents, as when God takes some friends out for a night on the town but belatedly realizes that he’d grabbed the keys to his lawn tractor instead of his SUV. This prompts God to seek help; he tries over-the-counter supplements, but they do no good. He dislikes the Internet—he claims it was invented by the Devil and the government—but the special assistant he cooks up in his microwave wastes no time suggesting what the problem might be: God isn’t delegating enough. The author then delivers a droll commentary on American marketing culture: “By the end of that week God had become God Incorporated.” Wilson handles most of the story with precise comic timing. However, the book’s digressions into sexual satire tend to be odd or mean-spirited. Wilson’s version of God manages to be both likable and Old Testament-style vengeful: “God accepts name-calling and seldom responds, but He abhors being admonished,” Wilson tells readers, right before God kills the writer of a negative editorial.

An antic, often very amusing social satire that occasionally loses its way.

Pub Date: Dec. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1490507224

Page Count: 206

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2014

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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