YOU CAN DO IT! BUT WHY BOTHER?â„¢ by Jeff St. John


101 Excuses for Bad Behavior & Stalling Personal Growth
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A self-help book disguised as humor.

On the surface, veteran self-help guru St. John is a good guy. He’s offered advice for the masses in print and on television, and wrote advice book Get Out of My Way–I’m Late For My Life (2003). In the introduction to his sophomore outing, he breezily discusses how important humor is to personal growth–a concept that seems like a fine launching point for an advice book. Unfortunately, one page later, we learn that St. John’s idea of helping is to insult and demean. A slight book, every page of this alleged parody consists of a cartoon rendering of one of eight “clueless characters,” each offering up two or three sentences of daily affirmation beginning with the promise, “Today I will...” St. John’s clueless characters are imbued with what most will consider stereotypical and offensive qualities. There’s Aquanetta Jackson, an African-American single mother of four who “takes her kids to see their fathers in prison annually.” (Yes, it says “fathers.”) There’s Soo Yoo, a 20-something Korean woman who manages a small manicure business and “screams for no reason.” And there’s Spencer Sterling, a metrosexual who “frequents gay clubs only for the attention.” The advice is, at best, unfunny, and at worst, inflammatory and obnoxious. For example, under the header “Karma,” Aquanetta tells us, “Today, I will intentionally inflict pain on stupid people. They have it coming.” In his ham-fisted, nasty manner, St. John is obviously telling us to do the exact opposite of his characters, but the whole project is so mean-spirited that readers may choose to ignore the author’s “lesson.”

Neither helpful nor humorous.

Pub Date: March 7th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-595-41655-1
Program: Kirkus Indie
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