TEXAS HOLD ’EM by Kinky Friedman

TEXAS HOLD ’EM

How I Was Born in a Manger, Died in the Saddle, and Came Back as a Horny Toad
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Well known for his antic mysteries, freethinking, colorful Friedman (The Prisoner of Vandam Street, 2004, etc.) offers a Texan’s view of life and other oddments.

Friedman’s short, good-and-warped journalistic pieces are intended as survival tools, a way of holding on to the good hand and playing a poor one well. In the belief that “humor always sails dangerously close to the truth,” he takes broad comic swipes at all things Texan. These include people who go to their pet’s vet for their own illnesses, pickup-truck decorations such as “a window sticker of a cowboy kneeling at the foot of a cross, head bowed, hat in hand,” a state version of the Ten Commandments, including “Honor thy styling gel,” and those who proudly proclaim that the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame sports a petrified buffalo hairball. Friedman is equally broad in his friendships; few others can count both George W. Bush and Molly Ivins as chums. Declaring his candidacy for governor of Texas, Friedman acknowledges that he has less political experience than his opponents, but reassures voters, “Trust me, I’m a Jew. I’ll hire good people.” Though Texas launches many of his visions, the author also happily explores such topics as why Eagle Scouts are a breeding ground for future mass murderers, why seeking out Saddam Hussein’s tailor in London is almost as special as meeting Gandhi’s barber and why friendship transcends politics: “I feel close to the Bush family in the same way that I feel close to the Willie Nelson family and the Charles Manson family.” The one extended piece here is a great profile of Nelson on tour. Friedman knows and likes the singer enough to repeatedly poke him in the eye, describing Nelson’s trademark headgear, for instance, as “a bandana that has been carbon-dated and found to be slightly older than the shroud of Turin.”

Kinky for sure, and twisted in a sentimental, good-spirited way. (Cartoons by John Callahan)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-33154-1
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2005




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