WINTERS' TALES: Stories and Observations for the Unusual by Jonathan Winters

WINTERS' TALES: Stories and Observations for the Unusual

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Pieces from comedian Winters, with appropriately frenzied illustrations by the author. In his introduction, Winters cites the importance of keeping ""the child alive"" in stodgy old adults--and, true to his word, he has come up with a collection that's a little like watching a hyperactive kid romp through a series of rooms, alternately trashing and revering what he encounters. Young Johnny doesn't waste much time on any one subject before tossing it aside and moving on to the next with ""Aw, gee!"" delight, making this a light, fast-moving, though very uneven read. When striving for the serious or sentimental--as in ""Stolen Flowers,"" a rather wooden anti-war piece, or the well-intentioned ""A Little Boy's Christmas List""--Winters quickly becomes saccharin. The best material here is close to his familiar comedy routines; ""A Roll in the Hay"" is pure farce, and pieces like ""A Well Kept Secret"" display some of his better comic instincts: ""How well I remember Father making me go pheasant shooting with him. We didn't have any pointers or Labs, so I picked up the dead birds."" However, the effects are typically carried to a gleeful extreme, and one has to wonder whether the idea of, say, a transvestite seducing his grand-father is meant to be funny, or simply meant to provoke a little indignant parental tongue-clucking. Not likely to gain Winters a new audience, but a shoo-in with his fans.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1987
Publisher: Random House