Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Mike Sacks

Pub Date: March 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-935639-02-2
Publisher: Tin House

A comical collection of essays, illustrations and one-liners.

Humor writer and Vanity Fair staffer Sacks (And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft, 2009, etc.) opens with a warning: “The vast majority of these short humor pieces—or the random list, the occasional illustration, other effluvia—have absolutely nothing to do with each other. There is no overarching theme, no recurring characters, nothing that links one piece to another.” It’s an accurate assessment. The collection veers in various directions, many of the pieces involving the author taking on personas to match the lunacy of the prose. One of the more successful personas is Rhon Penny (“silent h”), a wanna-be writer soliciting literary giants for blurbs and collaborative projects: “My publisher/mother tells me a top-notch blurb can mean the difference between Harry Potter-type sales and Harry Stottleberg-type sales (a guy who lives in our building).” Equally enjoyable are Sacks' lists—e.g., “Signs Your College Is Not Very Prestigious,” which include, “Has NCAA’s only cockfighting program” and, “Provost walks around campus with a Burmese python around his neck.” His list “Reasons You’re Still Single” includes such gems as “Perform yoga in parks” and “Carry an NPR Fresh Air tote bag.” Much of Sacks' humor hinges on the reader's willingness to take leaps, to laugh about what is not said, or what is implied. In “When Making Love To Me: What Every Woman Needs To Know,” the author writes, “Love me for who I am and not for what I just did to your armpit.” While Sacks' odd-ball humor is often irreverent, it is never irrelevant. There appears to be some strange care taken in every piece.

An enjoyable collection of zaniness best read in small doses.