A bracing, often domineering, self-help book that aims to guide “jerks” and “losers” through relationship boot camp.

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Dick Loss Prevention: Vol. 1

MAKE SURE YOUR DICK DOESN’T FALL OFF BEFORE YOU DIE DRUNK AND ALONE

Listen up, bros: your manhood will shrivel and die if you don’t shape up and show some respect to the female sex, according to this scabrous relationship manual.

Levis, a community health care researcher who says that he’s in recovery from “male behavioral protocols,” takes aim at “toxic masculinity” in this book: every sleazy, selfish, callous, uncommunicative, emotionally repressed, irresponsible, drunken, filthy, stinking, groping, pathetic trait that keeps men from having successful—or really any—relationships with women. His pronouncements cover every conceivable topic, from hygiene (“Floss Your Fucking Teeth!”) to healthy lifestyles (“Get Some Sleep, You Ugly Troll”); socializing (“not dancing equates to being boring sexually and a cowardly man”); fine dining (“eating alone never leads to sex, unless you count whacking off”); deportment (smiling, he says, is better than catcalling); domestic harmony (“man up,” he says, and do chores); romantic technique (“be like a lithe and gentle sex tiger”); and even gastroenterology (“When it isn’t a good poop, take notes”). Underneath it all, Levis, the co-creator of what he calls the “Levis-Pimm Relationship Model” featuring 13 steps and a complex chart, dispenses sturdy, unexceptionable psychological advice: take responsibility for your life; don’t force others to make up for your emotional deficits; relinquish your sexist entitlements or face obsolescence in the age of gender equality; and don’t be “a douche bag to women.” He translates these feminist-inflected ideas into a stridently masculinist motivational idiom, half frat-boy raillery and half drill-sergeant hectoring, and decorates them with cartoons of scantily clad or naked women with large breasts as an enticement. There are sharp clashes among the book’s content, tone, and illustration, and the subtext of male self-loathing at times gets so extreme and Andrea Dworkin–ish that it may backfire and make demoralized readers want to forfeit the mating game and just play computer chess. (“Resist becoming a sexless, pox-faced, fat-assed, dildo-loving, healthcare liability (who will die alone on a toilet)”—and then it gets nasty.) Still, Levis’ prose is blunt, vigorous, colorful, and funny throughout. It will keep readers awake and perhaps jolt them into searching re-examinations of their lives.

A bracing, often domineering, self-help book that aims to guide “jerks” and “losers” through relationship boot camp.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-6175-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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