A raucous chronicle of one man’s descent into dodgy deals, used cars and madness.
Set in the dog days of summer in 1976, this fictionalized version of the author’s own experiences follows Corey Doctoroff, a regular joe who descends into the underbelly of the American dream. Despite a picture-postcard life–complete with the wife, the house in the suburbs and a decent gig selling wares for Fenwick Plastics in Wichita, Kan.–the cocky 40-something’s arrogance and seeming self-confidence hides a dark side that unexpectedly emerges in a sales conference, during which he attacks his boss with a dinner fork. In a tragic but bizarrely comical introduction, Rosenberg reveals that Corey suffers from bipolar disorder, and his psychotic episode lands him in the looney bin. Struggling to stitch his life back together, the oddly appealing protagonist accepts a charity job selling used cars, where he finds he has a gift for promoting the â€œpigs, rats and sleds” of his new-found trade. He also proceeds to make both friends and enemies among the scoundrels who sleaze their way into his life. The mechanics of the used-car business are intricately devious, rendered in revealing detail through Corey’s successes in the business. But the compelling element here is Corey’s ironic, outrageous viewpoint on his distinctly ordinary world. While the prose is uneven, the narrator is a memorable character, even in a world of seedy, outlandish renegades. Though the book loses some of its madcap momentum once Corey hits bottom and starts to pull himself together, it remains a ride worth taking.
A scratched and dented story about a guy who’s come undone.